Nº 17/00


          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights deplores the execution in the United States of Miguel Angel Flores on Thursday, November 9, 2000. Mr. Flores, a Mexican National, was put to death despite formal requests by the Commission for the United States to stay Mr. Flores' execution until the Commission had an opportunity to investigate a human rights complaint filed on his behalf. The United States, as a Member State of the Organization of American States, is subject to the Commission's jurisdiction to receive and investigate human rights complaints lodged against it.  

On October 16, 2000, the Commission received a complaint on behalf of Mr. Flores, alleging that the United States had violated Mr. Flores' human rights under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, including his right to life under Article I of that instrument.  In particular, the complaint argued that Mr. Flores was imprisoned, tried and sentenced to death without being informed of his right to consular assistance from Mexico, his country of nationality, under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, a treaty which the United States has ratified. The complaint also indicated that Mr. Flores was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on November 9, 2000.

On October 25, 2000, the Commission opened Case No. 12.333 in respect of Mr. Flores' complaint, and formally requested under Article 29(2) of the Commission's Regulations[1] that the United States take all necessary measures to stay Mr. Flores' execution until the Commission had an opportunity to investigate the allegations in Mr. Flores' petition. By subsequent communication dated November 7, 2000, the Commission reiterated its request for the United States to stay Mr. Flores' execution. The United States did not respond to either of these communications, and the Commission has learned that Mr. Flores' execution proceeded on November 9, 2000 as scheduled.

The Commission is gravely concerned that the United States failed to acknowledge or respect its requests to postpone Mr. Flores' execution and thereby deprived Mr. Flores of his fundamental right to have the Commission determine the merits of his complaints. In light of the irreparable damage caused to the victims of potential human rights abuses in cases involving threats to the most fundamental right to life, the Commission reiterates its call for the United States and other OAS Member States to comply with the Commission's requests for precautionary measures in such circumstances and thereby properly and fully respect their international human rights obligations.

Washington, D.C.  November 13, 2000

[1] Article 29(2) of the Commission's Regulations provides: "In urgent cases, when it becomes necessary to avoid irreparable damage to persons, the Commission may request that provisional measures be taken to avoid irreparable damage in cases where the denounced facts are true."