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International brief ~ ICTY appeals chamber OKs release of 6 accused of war crimes pending trial

[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has rejected an appeal by the Prosecutor's Office to overturn a trial ruling that the six individuals, charged with various war crimes, be released pending an upcoming trial. The Appeals Chamber held that Trial Chamber acted correctly in holding that the accused would not pose a risk to witness, victim or person, and that they would reappear for their posted trial date. The full opinion is available here.... Two Belarusians were sentenced to jail for two years Wednesday on charges of defamation against the President of Belarus. The two were convicted based on their distribution of a pamphlet that was critical of the government, but did not mention the President by name. The Head of the Minsk office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe criticized the conviction as unduly harsh in light of the alleged crimes. Read an OSCE press release here.... Lithuania yesterday signed two more North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) documents: the Ottawa Agreement, which governs the rights and immunities of nationals working for NATO, and the Atomic Information Agreement, which governs the exchange and protection of atomic information among NATO members. The two documents represent the last of nine signings that were required in the original membership agreement for admitting Lithuania. The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a press release in English here.... The Secretary-General of the UN has announced the appointment of four new judges to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The judges are from Jordan, Sweden, Burkina Faso, and the Republic of Korea. The new ad litem judges are being added to ensure the smooth start of the two new trials scheduled in the ICTR for September. Read the UN press release here.... NGO Human Rights Watch Thursday accused China of using intimidation tactics to prevent the election of pro-democratic candidates in the upcoming Hong Kong elections. Read their report and an accompanying press release. China has angrily denied the allegations of threatening phone calls, letters and vandalism and arson against pro-democratic supporters. BBC has more.... The International Criminal Court has announced the election by the states-parties of a Deputy Prosecutor. Ms. Fatou Bensouda, an attorney in The Gambia and a prosecutor before the ICTR, was elected to the post and will begin on November 1st. A press release from the Coalition for the International Criminal Court is available here [PDF].... Finally, the Russian Parliament (the Duma) met Thursday to began working on new anti-terrorism legislation in the wake of a series of bombing and hostage-taking incidents. The Duma began by looking at immigration laws and security around airports, passengers, and their luggage. UPI has more.

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