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World Briefs II

World Court Weighs In on Virginia Execution

The Washington Post

The International Court of Justice Thursday told the United States to stop Virginia from executing a Paraguayan citizen while its judges consider whether he deserves a new trial because his treatment violated an international treaty.

The 15-member body headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, commonly known as the World Court, has no recognized authority to halt Angel Francisco Breard's Tuesday execution, and the U.S. has ignored its decisions before. But some human rights lawyers said the ruling could give the U.S. Supreme Court, which is already considering Breard's appeal, an additional reason to intervene.

Virginia officials said they were trying to assess the impact of the World Court decision, but that Breard's execution is still scheduled for 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Breard, 32, was convicted in the 1992 stabbing death of Ruth Dickie, 39, of Arlington. His lawyers contend that he should get a new trial because he wasn't told he had the right to meet with a Paraguayan consular official after his arrest as guaranteed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Paraguay has also sued the state of Virginia for violating that treaty.

U.S. Ready to Capture Pol Pot

The Washington Post

Faced with the possibility that the notorious Cambodian communist rebel leader Pol Pot could be captured as his Khmer Rouge movement falls apart, the Clinton administration has developed a detailed plan to take him into custody and put him on trial, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Reports from the Thai border area of northwestern Cambodia have indicated that the last remnants of the Khmer Rouge, who killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodian civilians when they controlled the country in the late 1970s, have turned on each other. The internal conflict has raised the possibility that Pol Pot, already repudiated by the Khmer Rouge in a show trial last year, could surrender or be turned over to Thai or other allied governments, U.S. official said.

The Clinton administration, committed to the principle that war crimes and atrocities must be punished in international courts - as in Bosnia and Rwanda - has been working for weeks to answer the legal, diplomatic and custodial questions that would surround the capture of Pol Pot, the suspected mastermind of the mass deaths, officials said.

There is no possibility that U.S. troops or law enforcement personnel would participate in a "proactive effort" to capture Pol Pot, one senior official said. But if his erstwhile allies deliver him, or if he surrenders or is captured by Thai or Cambodian troops, the United States is prepared to take him into custody and ensure his prosecution, the official said.