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Consular Notification for Accused Foreign Nationals No. 498

Adopted 2003
Amended 2005
Amended 2006
Reaffirmed 2007


Whereas, the Vienna Convention on Consular Activities, ratified by the United States in 1969, has been recognized by virtually every country as controlling international law in regards to Consular activity;

Whereas, the Convention requires a consulate be contacted upon arrest of that state's citizen in a foreign country;

Whereas, the United States expects consular notification and the ability to advise its own citizens of their rights upon arrest;

Whereas in such cases as Breard v. Greene a court ruled that although the Paraguayan consulate was not notified, the Commonwealth of Virginia could proceed with the execution of a Paraguayan citizen, despite international protests and pending review by the International Court of Justice;

Whereas no national standards or guidelines for consular notification have been established by the Department of State, and accused foreign nationals continue to be sentenced across the United States, without proper consulate notification;

Whereas there are no widespread state standard protocols for consular notification.

Therefore, Americans for Democratic Action urges that:

  1. The Department of State promulgate a protocol requiring consular notification, in conformity with the 1969 Vienna Convention.
  2. The States implement mandatory protocols upon arrest of foreign nationals.
  3. The States mandate police officer training and standard procedures to ascertain the nationality of arrested individuals, and to notify relevant consulates prior to questioning.
  4. The President apologize to those countries that have been harmed by the lack of consular notification, and affirm U.S. intention to abide by notification procedures in the future.

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No. 498

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