Colombia’s Constitutional Court Says ICJ Rulings Are Not Self-Executing; Medellin v. Texas in Bogota?
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Medellin v. Texas that rulings of the International Court of Justice are not “self-executing” under U.S. law. For this reason, the Supreme Court refused to require Texas to stop executions that the ICJ had held in violation of U.S. treaty obligations. It looks like Colombia’s Constitutional Court has followed that same approach with respect to Colombia’s Constitution:
Colombia’s constitutional court ruled on Friday that applying a decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that granted Nicaragua a disputed area of Caribbean waters could not take effect without a treaty between the countries.
The court’s verdict upholds the position taken by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who said the Hague-based ICJ’s decision was not applicable according to Colombia’s constitution without such a treaty, ratified by the Andean nation’s congress.
Colombia’s government has been pretty consistent in its public statements. It does not dispute the legal obligation represented by the ICJ’s ruling, but it does not believe the ruling can override domestic Colombian constitutional law either. This court decision appears to endorse this dualist approach. Of course, I have not read the ruling (anyone have a link?) and even if I had the ruling, I can’t read Spanish (anyone have a link and a translation?). So I might be overstating things here. But it is worth looking into.