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Mendoza et al. v. Argentina (Inter-Am. Ct. H.R.)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2018

Christina M. Cerna
Affiliation:
Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center. Formerly, Principal Human Rights Specialist, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (retired Dec. 31, 2011).

Extract

The United States stands alone in its refusal to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty ratified by every other member state of the United Nations, which currently has 196 states parties. Article 37(a) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states: “Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”

Type
International Legal Documents
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society of International Law 

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References

1 The United Nations has 193 member states.

2 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights art. 6(5), Mar. 23, 1976, 999 UNTS 171 (“Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”); American Convention on Human Rights art. 4(5), July 18, 1978, 1144 UNTS 123 (“Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at the time the crime was committed, were under 18 years of age or over 70 years of age.”); African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, July 11, 1990, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49. Article 5(3) states, “The death sentence shall not be pronounced for crimes committed by children,” while Article 2 of this treaty specifies that the term “child” refers to anyone under the age of eighteen. Id.

3 Belarus is not a member state of the Council of Europe and not subject to the European Convention on Human Rights because it has retained the death penalty. Guatemala abolished the death penalty for all but military crimes in October 2017 and in Guyana the death penalty exists for murder and treason but the country has not executed anyone since 1997.

4 Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002).

5 Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).

6 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child art. 37(a), Sept. 2, 1990, 1577 UNTS 3.

7 Of the English-speaking member states of the OAS, only Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, and Jamaica are parties to the American Convention.

8 The additional violations involved the failure of the state to provide judicial review by a judge or superior court of the convictions of the five individuals; the lack of adequate medical attention for one of the five; the torture of two of the five; and the failure of the state adequately to investigate the facts, in particular, the death of one of the individuals while in custody.

9 Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010).

10 Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012).

11 Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280 (1976).

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