To quote the famous case, The Paquete Habana, "International law is a part of our law." When the Commonwealth of Virginia executed Angel Breard, the United States violated international law. Not only did the Commonwealth of Virginia violate the treaty obligations of its federal government, but the United States failed to comply with the Order of Provisional Measures set forth by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The outpouring of official dualism through all stages of the case as well as the failure to afford the decision of the ICJ its due respect were affronts to the international community. Mr. Breard had individual rights under the Vienna Convention which, at the minimum, justified compliance with the Order of the ICJ and a delay of his execution. The federal government was empowered to comply with the Order of the ICJ through the formal means of habeas corpus review as well as internal diplomatic measures or application of the Supreme Court's Rules. None of these measures were taken. By failing to comply with the provisional measures indicated by the ICJ, the United States violated international law and compromised its accountability in the international community.
Jane A. Allen,
Execution of Angel Breard: The United States Federalist System as Scapegoat for the Violation of an ICJ Order,
Rich. J.L. & Pub. Int.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolpi/vol4/iss1/2