On September 24, 2007, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that foreign prisoners do not have a cause of action under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations if police do not inform the inmate of their right under the treaty to contact their home country embassy following arrest. Finding that the Vienna Convention is applicable only to sovereign nations, and not individuals, the court wrote that "Article 36 [of the convention] does not create judicially enforceable rights. Article 36 confers legal rights and obligations on States in order to facilitate and promote consular functions. Consular functions include protecting the interests of detained nationals, and for that purpose detainees have the right (if they want) for the consular post to be notified of their situation."
Learn more about treaty law from the JURIST news archive.
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