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International brief ~ Shining Path leader receives date for retrial

Peru has announced November 5 as the retrial date for Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman. Guzman was convicted in 1992 of inciting and leading a Maoist insurgency that resulted in the deaths of over 69,000 people. The original convictions were made under the strict anti-terror laws imposed by former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, but following the collapse of his government in 2000 the laws were repealed. A court ruled Guzman's trial in a military tribunal unconstitutional last year and ordered a retrial. Reuters has more.... The trial of members of the South African pro-apartheid revolutionary group Boeremag may be delayed yet again due to a conflict over the imprisonment of the accused. The South African government is currently planning to move the inmates from individual cells back to communal cells. Defense attorney Piet Pistorius said that the move would endanger his clients, as they have received numerous death threats from the general inmate population. Pistorius told the presiding judge that he would be meeting with the Correctional Service's attorney Tuesday to try and avert an actual delay. South Africa's Independent Online has more.... A meeting of the interior ministers of France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, and Italy ended Monday with agreement on a new plan for digital biometric passports from 2006 on and division over Italy and Germany's plan to establish refugee processing centers in Northern Africa. The ministers quickly agreed on the inclusion of digital fingerprint and facial identification in EU passports, calling the measure a big step towards enhancing the security of the EU. The refugee camps however, quickly divided the group. France and Spain rejected the idea wholesale, stating concern over possible human rights and humanitarian law violations. France's Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin (official site in French) said that the EU should not be leading the way on this, but should rather work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and international NGOs. The International Herald Tribune has more.... President Bush signed the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 on Monday, ensuring financial support for human rights groups in North Korea. The act designates $24 million to be used to support human rights groups operating within the territory of North Korea, as well as making asylum available for any North Korean that requests it on US territory. Previously, North Korean refugees had been considered South Korean, as the southern nation still claims sovereignty over the entire peninsula, preventing any claims for political asylum. The Act also establishes a special envoy whose job will be to monitor the human rights situation in North Korea. The North Korean government has called the Act an attempt by the US to overthrow the current government. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo has more. Read the official White House press release here.

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