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International brief ~ Dutch soldier in court-martial for killing Iraqi civilian

[JURIST] The prosecution of a Dutch soldier charged with negligently causing the death of an Iraqi civilian ended Monday with the prosecutor requesting a six month suspended sentence for Sergeant Major Eric Overvoorde. Overvoorde reportedly fired three warning shots when he believed his unit to be in jeapordy from an increasingly hostile crowd that had come to pick up aid from supply containers. Overvoorde is the first Dutch soldier court-martialed in relation to Iraq, and is believed to be the first Dutch soldier ever to be court-martialed for offences commited on foreign soil. The Khaleej Times has more.

In other international law news...

  • A defense panel in Japan recommended Monday that the Japanese government pursue options for making itself capable of pre-emptive attacks, a radical shift in the country's defense-only policy in place and enshrined in the Japanese constitution since the end of Allied occupation after World War II. The recommendation came from a panel composed of academics and businessmen with heavy political weight in the Japanese political system. The report stated that recent action in the world had shown pre-emptive strikes to be a valid extension of the customary international law on self-defense. The recommendation comes just one day after Taiwanese Premier Yu Shyi-kun stated his belief that Japan, Taiwan, and the US should create a defense alliance to deal with possible threats in the area, such as North Korea and mainland China. The Kyodo News has more on the Japanese panel here. The Taipei Times has more on Yu's statement here.

  • Kenyan officials have suspended Meru Prison Warden Silas M'tambu and Deputy Warden Benedict Mutunga Monday after autopsies revealed that five inmates that died in September were beaten to death. At first, the government claimed the men died from suffocation, due to the extreme overcrowding of Kenyan prisons that often have dozens of men sharing a cell meant for two. But post-mortem exams revealed that the men suffered extreme amounts of damage to their bodies consistent with being beaten. The government has promised to proceed with full investigations and prosecutions, and a local NGO, the Independant Medico-league Unit has promised to sue the government on behalf of the victim's families. From Nairobi, Kenya's Daily Nation has more (registered site).

  • The UN Security Council will meet later Monday to discuss the current situation in Gaza. The request came from current Council member Algeria, following a request presented to the Algerian representative by the Arab League. Israel maintains that its military action in the region is a response to continuing suicide bombing attacks carried out by Hamas and other terrorist organizations that use the Gaza region as a planning and staging area. UN Observer has more.

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