IACHR condemns the execution of Michael Tisius, sentenced to death in the United States 

June 16, 2023

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the execution of the death penalty imposed on Michael Tisius on June 6th2023 despite the fact that, on April 16th, 2023, the IACHR granted precautionary measures in his favor. 

Through the Resolution 22/2023, the Commission requested the United States to adopt the necessary measures to protect Mr. Tisius rights to life and personal integrity, refraining from carrying out the death penalty until the IACHR has had the opportunity to reach a decision on the petition filed by his representatives alleging that the death sentence was imposed on him in violation of his right to a fair trial.  

The available information indicated that the beneficiary's early years were marked by neglect and intrafamilial violence and abuse. From 15 to 18 years old, the beneficiary experienced homelessness and faced different degrees of degradation. Due to his life experiences, the beneficiary had developed a wide range of mental disorders. The request claimed violations of various articles of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man in relation to the rights to fair trial and due process, indicating that his State-appointed counsel was ineffective, in particular regarding its alleged failure to present mitigating evidenceregarding Mr. Tisius' impaired mental state at the time of the commission of the crime. 

Upon analyzing the submissions of fact and law provided, the IACHR considered that the information showed prima facie that the matter met the requirements of seriousness, urgency, and irreparable harm established in Article 25 of the Rules of Procedure. Nevertheless, Tisius was executed before the Commission had the opportunity to examine the merits of petition P-397-23. Thus, any eventual decision has been rendered moot. 

In this context, the IACHR recalls that the nature of the precautionary measures granted was intended to preserve Mr. Tisius's legal situation while his case was being considered by the IACHR. Precautionary measures aim to preserve a legal situation until the petition pending before the inter-American system is resolved. Their object and purpose are to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of an eventual decision on the merits and avoid any further infringement of the rights at issue, a situation that may adversely affect the useful effect of the final decision. In this sense, the precautionary measures would allow not only to avoid irreparable harm to Mr. Tisius, but also that the State could comply with the final recommendations made by the IACHR. 

The IACHR reiterates the recommendations it made in its report "The Death Penalty in the Inter-American Human Rights System: from Restrictions to Abolition," which seek to abolish the death penalty or, failing that, to implement moratoriums on executions as a step toward the gradual disappearance of this penalty. 

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 IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence. 

No. 124/23

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