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Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America)

Overview of the case

On 3 April 1998, the Republic of Paraguay filed in the Registry an Application instituting proceedings against the United States of America in a dispute concerning alleged violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963. Paraguay based the jurisdiction of the Court on Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Statute and on Article I of the Optional Protocol which accompanies the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and which gives the Court jurisdiction as regards the settlement of disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of that Convention. In its Application, Paraguay indicated that, in 1992, the authorities of the Commonwealth of Virginia had arrested a Paraguayan national, charged and convicted him of culpable homicide and sentenced him to death without informing him of his rights as required by Article 36, paragraph 1 (b), of the Convention. Those rights included the right to request that the relevant consular office of the State of which he was a national be advised of his arrest and detention and the right to communicate with that office. It was further alleged by the Applicant that the authorities of the Commonwealth of Virginia had not advised the Paraguayan consular officers, who were therefore only able to render assistance to him from 1996, when the Paraguayan Government learned of the case by its own means. Paraguay asked the Court to adjudge and declare that the United States of America had violated its international legal obligations towards Paraguay and that the latter was entitled to “restitution in kind”.

The same day, 3 April 1998, Paraguay also submitted a request for the indication of provisional measures to ensure that the national concerned was not executed pending a decision by the Court. At a public hearing on 9 April 1998, the Court made an Order on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Paraguay. The Court unanimously found that the United States of America should take all measures at its disposal to ensure that the Paraguayan national concerned was not executed pending the decision by the Court. By an Order the same day, the Vice-President, acting as President, having regard to the Court’s Order for the indication of provisional measures and the agreement of the Parties, fixed the time-limits for the filing of the Memorial and the Counter-Memorial. Paraguay filed its Memorial on 9 October 1998.

By letter of 2 November 1998, Paraguay indicated that it wished to discontinue the proceedings with prejudice. The United States of America concurred in the discontinuance on 3 November. On 10 November 1998, the Court therefore made an Order placing on record the discontinuance and directing the case to be removed from the List.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1998/7

Public sitting held on Tuesday 7 April 1998, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, Vice-President Weeramantry, Acting President, presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1998/8

Public sitting held on Tuesday 7 April 1998, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, Vice-President Weeramantry, Acting President, presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1998

Reading of the Order - Public sitting held on Thursday 9 April 1998, at 2 p.m., at the Peace Palace, Vice-President Weeramantry, Acting President, presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Orders

Order of 9 April 1998

Fixing of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 8 June 1998

Extension of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 10 November 1998

Removal from List
Procedure(s): Discontinuance
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 1998/3

Summary of the Order of 9 April 1998
Available in:
English French

Summary 1998/4

Summary of the Order of 10 November 1998
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1998/13

3 April 1998
Paraguay brings a case against the United States of America and requests the indication of provisional measures - Hearing to be held on Tuesday 7 April 1998
Available in:
English French

Press release 1998/15

7 April 1998
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America) - Request for the indication of provisional measures - Court to give its decision on Thursday 9 April 1998
Available in:
English French

Press release 1998/16

8 April 1998
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America) - Request for the indication of provisional measures - Court to give its decision on Thursday 9 April 1998 at 2 p.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 1998/17

9 April 1998
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America) - Provisional measures - The Court calls on the United States to take measures to prevent the execution of Angel Breard, pending a final decision
Available in:
English French

Press release 1998/18

9 April 1998
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America) - Fixing of time-limits for the filing of written pleadings
Available in:
English French

Press release 1998/22

9 June 1998
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America) - Extension of time-limits for the filing of written pleadings
Available in:
English French

Press release 1998/36

11 November 1998
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America) - Case removed from the Court's List at the request of Paraguay
Available in:
English French

Correspondence

Correspondence

7 April 1998
Correspondence
Available in:
English