Taking the case to the International Court in The Hague or demanding review in a Federal Court in Georgia are alternatives to curb the death penalty. Nelson Serrano’s defense prepares his strategy to get him out of death row.
The Ecuadorian, 80, remains in custody in Florida, USA, accused of the crime of four people, crime for which he was sentenced to death. In 2006 he was sentenced to 4 death sentences for the crime of 4 people.
Serrano’s family is convinced of his innocence and of the legal violations he was subjected to in Ecuador and in the United States. The claim of their relatives is based on evidence that was not analyzed during the judicial process, since there is a DNA test carried out on a glove found at the scene of the crime, which occurred in 1997, which does not correspond to Serrano. That is why at this moment there are two alternatives to demand that his judgment be reviewed.
One, to ask The Hague, at the headquarters of the International Criminal Court, to curb its death penalty, because this body can intervene in these types of cases. In 2004, the international court surprised the world by ruling in favor of 51 Mexican citizens, in the case known as Avena. The Court affirmed that the rights of the sentenced persons facing capital punishment in the county of Texas were violated. His decision was based on the fact that the people’s guarantee of obtaining consular assistance when they have been detained in a country alien to their own was compromised. This did not happen with the Mexicans and according to the International Court the due process was violated, therefore it ordered that its judgments be reviewed.
Consular assistance is contemplated in the Vienna Agreement, of which the United States is a subscriber. Precisely, this is one of the arguments of the defense of Nelson Serrano. For their relatives, Ecuador, as Mexico did, can request the intervention of the Court based in The Hague.
A Quiteño writer, Oscar Vela argues that there are arguments to raise this initiative to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry, because it is not about affecting relations between two nations, but to verify the violations of due process.
According to Vela, after Nelson Serrano was removed from the country, in 2002, the Ecuadorian consular body was not notified of his arrest. That is why, as in the case of Avena, his right to receive diplomatic assistance was threatened. In addition, Serrano has in his favor the pronouncement of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that asked Ecuador to execute all actions to protect the suspect’s life, after it was verified that he was illegally removed from the country to be handed over to the US justice system.
The other alternative, the one that most convinces Serrano’s family, is to demand a review of the case in the Supreme Court of Georgia. This Court has known cases of Florida, therefore it would be the most viable alternative, says Vela. His confidence is supported by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that concluded that the Florida courts violated the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, in a verdict that implied the death penalty, as happened in the case called “Hurst against Florida “.
This rule guarantees any person the right to have a fair jury. In addition, the ruling was issued based on the verdict of a jury of 12 people, of which 9 voted in favor of the death penalty, but that recommendation, to be taken into account, should have been unanimous. For this week it is expected that the relatives of Nelson Serrano have an appointment with the authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and thus explain their proposals to defend the Ecuadorian. (I)