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International brief ~ Lithuania becomes first state to ratify new European Constitution

[JURIST] Lithuania became the first EU state to ratify the European Constitution on Thursday, when the Seimas, the Lithuanian Parliament, voted 84-4 (with 3 abstentions) to approve the international treaty. According to the process spelled out for ratification, all EU members must ratify the new constitution in 2005 and 2006. The process is fragile, as several nations intend or are required to put the ratification to a referendum before the general populace. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the EU Constitution. The Guardian has more.... Former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic Thursday requested the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to subpoena a number of hostile witnesses to appear at his trial, including former US President Bill Clinton and current British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Milosevic told the court that he had sent requests to all of the individuals in his request, but that they had failed to respond, which he said made them obviously hostile. Milosevic's list of persons he wants subpoenaed also includes former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and former German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping. Milosevic wants the Court to have the witnesses present prior to the Christmas recess. Presiding judge Patrick Robinson told Milosevic that any such subpoena would first have to be requested in writing, which Milosevic indicated that he would do. The court made no statement about the likelihood of issueing such an order. UN special tribunals have no power to compel witnesses to appear for testimony. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the Milosevic trial. Reuters has more.... Chilean President Ricardo Lagos received a report Thursday on the practice of torture under the regime of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The report was prepared by a government-sponsored commission that interviewed more than 35,000 individuals that were incarcerated during the years of 1973 - 1990. Lagos said that he intended to read the report before making any specific comment, but praised the ability of the Chilean people to honestly examine their past. He also said that any possibilities of prosecution based on the material found in the report would be fully pursued. From Santiago, El Mercurio provides local coverage in Spanish. BBC News has more. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on Pinochet.

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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 format.

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