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International brief ~ Cambodia sets laws to govern throne succession after Sihanouk abdication

[JURIST] The Cambodian government Friday approved new succession laws for the country's monarchy adopted by the country's National Assembly after a surprise abdication announcement by King Sihanouk Thursday. The 1993 constitution (text here) states that a Throne Council will determine the next king (the monarchy is explicitly non-hereditary), but the process for who should be considered and what steps to take after the determination of the Throne Council is made has never been finalized. Under the law approved by the National Assembly, a nine-person council must meet within a week to select the new monarch. Prince Ranariddh, Sihanouk's son, is trying to convince his father to stay, and warns that the King's abdication may hold up progress on the recently adopted legislation on the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal (see JURIST's Paper Chase report here). BBC News has more on the succession troubles. The Phnom Phen Post has more.

In other international news...

  • UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan established a formal five-member commission Friday to investigate the current conflict in the Darfur region of the Sudan and determine whether that conflict rises to the level of genocide. The members of the commission are to determine who, if anyone, is responsible for the coordianted attacks of the Janjaweed militias that acted to put down anti-government rebel groups with alleged torture, rape, and mass murder. The victims of the militias are mostly black African civilians, while the militias are composed of Arab Muslims. The commission, requested by Resolution 1564 (text here) passed last month by the Security Council, will also examine human rights and humanitarian norms in the region and make recommendations for improvement. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the Darfur conflict. UN News Centre has more.

  • A bill will be introduced before the Pakistani parliament sometime Friday intended to allow General Pervez Musharraf to remain as both president of the country and its active military leader. Opposition groups argue that a constitutional amendment passed last year prohibits the civilian head of the government from holding an active military rank (constitution text here). The 17th amendment settled the country's strife over Musharraf's 1999 military coup, legitimizing him officially as the country's rightful leader (amendment text here). Musharraf pledged to retire from his military position on Dec. 31, but he is now seeking to hold both positions, claiming it is the desire of the people, as well as a necessary provision to retain stability in the country and continue to fight terrorism. The Hindustan Times has more.

  • Kenyan Judge Justice Philip Waki was reinstated Thursday after a one-year suspension following allegations of corruption from prominent Kenyan businessman Khurshid Ahmed Bhutt. A panel of justices held hearings over a period of six months, calling over 50 witnesses and interviewing them regarding Waki's career. Kenya has been plagued by allegations of corruption among its government officials. Current Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has pledged repeatedly to purge the Kenyan government of bribery and fraud. Kenya's Daily Nation (registered site) has more.

About Paper Chase

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 format.

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