Australian military lawyer Major George O'Kane has been censured by a US Army investigation for inadequately responding to Red Cross warnings about prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Major O'Kane is accused of "glossing over" reports of prisoner abuse and humiliation in his December response to a Red Cross inquiry while he was tasked with liasing with the Red Cross on behalf of Coalition forces in Iraq.
The report raises questions about the Australian government's assurances that it was not involved in cover-up activities related to the scandal. Monday's edition of The Australian has more. JURIST's Paper Chase has more coverage of the Abu Ghraib scandal here.
Indonesian prosecutors are expected to file charges this week against alleged terror leader Abu Bakar Bashir. Bashir, a Muslim cleric, faces charges related to his alleged involvement in last year's hotel bombing in Jakarta.
A spokesman for the Indonesia attorney general's office told reporters that the evidence against Bashir "is strong." Bashir's attorneys contend the charges will be dropped. BBC has more. Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase:
Following up on a story previously reported in JURIST's Paper Chase, US Airways released a statement earlier today announcing that it has reached a new union contract with flight instructors. The airline late Friday had asked a federal bankruptcy court to allow it to impose substantial wage cuts on union employees. It is not clear if today's development will alter that request.
Read US Airways' Friday press release seeking interim relief from its collective bargaining agreements here. US Airways, the 7th largest airline in the country, entered bankruptcy for the second time in two years on September 12. Reuters has more on the imposed contract.
In an emergency session, the Turkish parliament Sunday passed a reformed penal code viewed as crucial to its admission to the European Union. As previously reported on JURIST'S Paper Chase, after meeting with EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on parliament to return from its summer recess and determine the fate of the reform in time for the anticipated October 6 EU report on whether accession talks with Turkey should begin. According to BBC News, some 70% of Turkish people support entry into the EU.
The president now has to ratify the law, which will take effect on April 1, 2005, apart from a few provisions which will come into force earlier or later. Turkish Press has more; NTV has a report from Istanbul in Turkish. Bloomberg has details on the key provisions of the new penal code, the latest in a long line of Turkish government initiatives bringing the country more in line with its western neighbors.
The European Union Court of First Instance in Luxembourg is set to rule this week on a $120 billion deal that MCI-WorldCom made in 2000 in an attempt to take over rival Sprint. The move was blocked by both the US Justice Department and the European Commission on antitrust grounds. Although the takeover attempt was soon abandoned, WorldCom vowed to appeal the EU ruling in order to free itself from an unfavorable precedent that could dog its European operations for years.
Since emerging from bankruptcy as MCI, the company has pursued the appeal on technical grounds. First, they argue that the deal was too small to be considered by the European Commission; second, they claim that WorldCom's withdrawal from the takeover bid one day before the Commission's ruling deprived the Commission of the authority to rule. Reuters has more.
Less than two weeks after US authorities named Talib Abd Ghayib al-Lahibi to lead three battalions of the Iraqi National Guard in the Baquba area northeast of Baghdad, international forces have arrested him for possible ties to militant groups fighting in Iraq. According to a US military statement, "Lahibi was detained by multinational forces on 23 September for having associations with known insurgents," but US authorities have provided no other details of his arrest, which took place Thursday. BBC News has more.
General Lahibi, who previously served in the military under Saddam Hussein and was named to this post after his predecessor's August assassination, is the most senior member of the new Iraqi forces to be arrested on such a charge. The Iraqi National Guard is the centerpiece of US efforts to build a security force capable of taking over from US troops and restoring stability, and the Baquba area is one of Iraq's most troubled and violent regions, the site of frequent fighting between insurgents and coalition forces. The Voice of America has more.
For the second time in a decade, Swiss voters today rejected legislation (in French) intended to make it easier for second- and third-generation immigrants to acquire Swiss citizenship. BBC News has more. The reforms [PDF, in French] would have given the federal government authority over naturalization requests, which are currently handled at the local level, in order to make naturalization laws and procedures uniform throughout Switzerland.
According to Swiss newspaper Le Temps (in French), the plan to give citizenship to third-generation immigrants automatically if they were born in Switzerland was rejected by 51.6% of voters, while the initiative to facilitate the naturalization of second-generation immigrants was rejected by 56.8%. As in previous referendums on citizenship reform, the vote split along linguistic lines: most voters in French-speaking Switzerland were in favor while those in German-speaking cantons were overwhelmingly opposed.
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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.