Legal news from Friday, February 4, 2005
19:02 EDT

[JURIST] Guatemala's Constitutional Court [official website] Friday ordered charges dropped against soldiers accused of participating in a 1982 massacre of more than 300 civilians, citing the countrys's National Reconciliation Law [PNS report]. The law is a type of amnesty the Guatemalan Congress approved in November 1996, a few weeks before [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] The appeals division of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website] ruled Friday that the trial chamber of the same court had erred in its 2003 sentencing of former Bosnian Serb detention camp commander Dragan Nikolic [case sheet]. Nikolic, who personally tortured inmates with pipes and [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Washington State Superior Court Judge John E. Bridges ruled in favor of Republicans Friday by allowing a court challenge to proceed against election totals that resulted in last month's swearing in of Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire [official website]. Gregoire was declared the winner of the state gubernatorial election by [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] In Friday's environmental law news, the Southeastern PA Transit Authority (SEPTA) [corporate website] has received $23 million as part of a settlement agreement to reimburse the company for cleanup at the Paoli Rail Yard Superfund site [EPA website]. The site was originally used (and polluted) by the Penn Central [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Friday's corporations and securities law news, Washington state utility Snohomish Public Utility District [official website] has released audiotapes which reveal Enron's [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic] plan to take a power plant off-line in 2001 to create higher electric prices in western states. The tapes were released as [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] New York State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled Friday that New York's law banning same-sex marriages violates the state constitution. Read her 62-page opinion [PDF]. If upheld on appeal, the decision would allow same-sex couples in the state to wed. Justice Ling-Cohan found in favor of five same-sex [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [official website] has ruled that federal law does not permit the goverment to seek a $280 billion penalty in its racketeering case against the tobacco industry. In its opinion [PDF text], the court wrote: A group of cigarette manufacturers and [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] Addressing US Department of Justice [official website] employees the day after being confirmed as US Attorney General [JURIST report], Alberto Gonzales [White House biography; JURIST Newsmaker news archive] said that the Justice Department's top priority will be "to protect this country against future acts of terrorism ... in a [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] The FBI [official website] has been forced to shut down part of the e-mail system it uses to communicate with the public because of a security breach. The FBI is investigating the source of the intrusion, although there is no indication that internal communications have been effected. The breach [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Iraq's Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin Friday praised the United Nations' preliminary report into corruption within the Oil-for-Food program [official website], and called for those who participated to stand trial. The program's former director, Benon Sevan, is accused of repeatedly soliciting and getting Iraqi oil allocations for a trading [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] In Friday's international brief, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan formally reported to the Security Council Friday morning on the finding of the special UN commission [JURIST Gazette] on the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. While the commission did not find that the central Sudanese government had any specific [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] Six senior UN human rights experts joined Friday to express their continuing concern over the situation of detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST Hot Topic news archive]. In a statement released in Geneva, UN committee chairs and rapporteurs on arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture, health standards and other human rights [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] said Friday the human rights record [US State Department human rights report] of the Islamic government of Iran [Iran Presidency website] was "something to be loathed." Stopping short of calling for regime change, Rice suggested that the unelected religious leaders that [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] Former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who now works as a human rights activist, has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] of creating a puppet judiciary to persecute opposition leaders. Kasparov compared Putin's recent appointment of an inexperienced jurist to the nation's highest arbitration court to Caligula's naming of [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] After pleading guilty earlier this week [JURIST report] to charges of battery, dereliction of duty, and lying to Army investigators in connection with alleged alleged abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Sgt. Javal Davis Thursday asked jurors to show mercy in sentencing. Davis apologized for his actions, adding [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Navy [official military site] announced Thursday that 3 additional prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay had been wrongly classified as "enemy combatants." The findings were made by Combatant Status Review Tribunals instituted after last July's Supreme Court ruling that Guantanamo prisoners had a right to challenge their detention. [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Friday, February 4.At the United Nations, the Security Council will hold a 10 AM ET meeting to hear the report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan. The meeting will be followed by closed consultations [read more]

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