Texas plans to ignore the World Court today by executing a Mexican national. Last month, the World Court ordered the U.S. government to "take all measures necessary" to halt the upcoming execution of five Mexican nationals until it makes a final judgment in a dispute over the suspects' rights, reported Reuters. The World Court's call for stays of execution in the cases of the five men came in response to a petition filed in June by the Mexican government to block the executions. Mexico charged that the men awaiting execution in Texas had been deprived of assistance from their consulates following their arrests.

Jose Medellin, who was sentenced to death for the 1993 rape and murder of 16-year-old girl, is the first of the Mexican nationalists scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection. Texas says its courts are not bound by the rulings of the ICJ. But critics of Texas' decision say that defying World Court orders has deeper implications.

"The impact of ignoring this endangers Americans traveling abroad," Victoria Palacios, a professor at Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law, told Reuters. "If the world sees us ignoring the rights of foreign nationals arrested here, there is very little reason for them to recognize the rights of U.S. citizens."

The case has drawn international legal attention and underscores the deep gulf between U.S. views of the death penalty and those elsewhere. Texas has executed far more people than any other state in the United States-more than 400 prisoners since the Supreme Court lifted a ban on the practice in 1976.