Consular Convention Implementing Legislation: Committee Hearing Webcast

by Peggy McGuinness

Though it produced hardly a ripple in the news (given all the other drama on Capitol Hill this week), Senator Leahy held a hearing yesterday on the legislation he has introduced to enforce the notification provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) at the state level.  The webcast of the hearing, aptly titled “Fulfilling our Treaty Obligations and Protecting Americans Abroad,” is here and the statements of the witnesses can be found here.  I’ll be posting some more commentary on this a bit later.

One Response

  1. I noted that among the people who testified was Ms. Gillis – reporter picked up by the Libyan forces in Libya.  I understand the use of her dramatic story as a way to “sell” the proposed law to Congress, but I really wondered if this really captured the important if more mundane role that this access provides.  At the heart I think is that it tells the host government that the state of nationality has an interest in this person being held.  Now if the US is in cahoots with an oppressive government like Chile back in the Pinochet days and the American was an activist being picked up – well that Consular access might not have had much meaning.  But, I think for some American business people held in Iran at certain points and I think I remember a case in Cote d’Ivoire back when I was there in the early 80’s, this was the only way to at least get news about how they were to the family – keeping the person from disappearing down a blackhole.  I just hope the bill is not going to have a “terrorist” exception to permit torture and incommunicado detention – anything is possible with the current state of affairs. 

    Fascinating to see Bellinger and Rivkin back – this side on opposite sides.  Rivkin sounds like he is taking Texas’ (or is it Rick Perry’s?) side.

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