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.
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