IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. - On November 17, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 90/2021, whereby it granted precautionary measures to Julius Jones, who is on death row in Oklahoma, with a scheduled date of execution for tomorrow, November 18. The IACHR considered that he is in a serious and urgent situation presenting a risk of irreparable harm to his rights.
The application states that Julius Jones was tried and convicted in a murder case without effective counsel, lacking compelling evidence against him, and based on racial bias in the jury and in the courts system. The applicants also filed a petition with the IACHR's cases and petitions system, in which they allege violations of the provisions from different articles of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man regarding Julius Jones' right to a fair trial, due process of law and equality before the law.
According to the applicants, the method of execution of the death penalty in the state of Oklahoma consists of a lethal injection with different drugs, including Midazolam, causing individuals unnecessary suffering that could constitute cruel and inhumane treatment.
Considering that the execution date is scheduled for November 18, 2021, the Commission concluded that the immediacy of the threatened harm admits no delay. Therefore, it has proceeded to order precautionary measures without priorly requesting pertinent information from the United States of America (in accordance with the provision of exception in Article 25(5) of the Commission's Rules of Procedure).
After analyzing the submissions of fact and law by the applicants, the IACHR considered that, given the scheduled execution of the beneficiary for November 18, 2021, with no available remedies at the domestic level, the death penalty execution is imminent. Thus, given the possibility of the death penalty being imposed without strict compliance with the rights to a fair trial, and guarantees of due process, equality and non-discrimination in the event the death penalty is carried out, the Commission would not have the opportunity to reach a decision on the merits of the petition and any decision would be rendered moot.
Additionally, the Commission notes the high risks that Julius Jones faces due to the possibility of being executed with methods that could cause him unnecessary suffering, as well as his long stay on death row for more than 22 years. Acknowledging all the above, the Commission further noted that the situation of the beneficiary meets the requirements of seriousness, urgency and irreparable harm set forth in Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, both under the precautionary and protective nature of the precautionary measures' mechanism.
Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the United States of America adopt the necessary measures to protect the life and personal integrity of Julius Jones and to refrain from carrying out the death penalty until the IACHR has had the opportunity to reach a decision on his petition.
The granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State does not constitute the prejudgment of the petition presented by the applicants before the IACHR or any other petition that may eventually be presented before the inter-American system alleging violations of the rights protected in the American Declaration and other applicable instruments.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.