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LaGrand Case (Germany v. United States)

International Court of Justice
2001 I.C.J. 466


Between 1998 and 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) heard three separate cases all relating to the rights and treatments of “aliens” on death row in the United States. One case was that of LaGrand, a German citizen held on death row in the United States (defendant). The primary issue in each case was the failure of United States law enforcement personnel to inform aliens upon their arrest of their right to have their consulate notified. This right is contained in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR). Another issue was whether, based on the United States’ violation of the VCCR, state courts should reconsider the three cases to determine if non-compliance with the VCCR prejudiced aliens by prohibiting them from undertaking a strong defense. Germany (plaintiff) argued the United States’ actions violated its rights under Article 36 of the VCCR to be informed of actions taken against its citizens. The ICJ considered whether the holding of LaGrand without informing him of the possibility of notifying his consulate violated not only Germany’s rights under the VCCR, but also the individual rights of LaGrand.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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