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International brief ~ US signals agreement to ICC jurisdiction on Darfur

[JURIST] In Thursday's international brief, a US administration official said Wednesday night that the US would accept a pending French resolution, delayed from Wednesday [JURIST report], authorizing the International Criminal Court [official website] to investigate and try possible human rights abuses in the Darfur region of Sudan [government website]. The US has actively opposed the use of the ICC and its endorsement by the UN Security Council [official website] in the Darfur context, fearing that the international court could be used to prosecute US military and civilian personnel abroad for solely political motivations. The US official said that the US had agreed to the use of the ICC after obtaining a guarantee from Sudan that no US personnel would be submitted to the ICC for investigation or prosecution. This would be the first time that the Bush administration has accepted the court's legitimacy. The Security Council is scheduled to consider the draft resolution on the use of the ICC at 5 PM ET Thursday. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST Country news archive]. AP has more.

In other international legal news ...

  • In Thursday's national elections in Zimbabwe [government website], a group of apparently inebriated military veterans have shut down a polling station at Insindi Farm in Gwanda unless one of their members is allowed to enter as a polling monitor for the ruling Zanu PF [official website] party. Precious Moyo, a military veteran from Zimbabwe's 1970s independence wars, has claimed that he is an official monitor, but the presiding officer of the polling station said Moyo was not on the approved list, and denied him access. Moyo's former military compatriots were upset at this statement and took to heckling the polling officials and then blocked all access to the polling station, telling civilians that they should not vote until Moyo was allowed to observe. Local police officials tasked with keeping peace were overwhelmed and had to call in help from the provincial elections command centre in Gwanda town. Less than half of the individuals registered to vote at the Insindi Farm polling station had cast their votes when the station was forcefully closed. Local police have announced they will be investigating the incident. Specific reports from other polling stations are thusfar sparse. The national elections, charged with already being unfair by human rights groups and international observers [JURIST report], have proceeded relatively peacefully so far, but press restrictions on foreign media have remained in place, calling in question the accuracy of in-country reports. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST Country news archive].

  • Allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation have been filed against a female division head in the United Nations. Carina Perelli, Chief of the UN's Electoral Assistance Division [official website], is alleged to have fostered a working environment that was "abusive" and full of sexual innuendo and intimidation. An investigation was ordered following several reports from staffers complaining of the work environment. The report was released Thursday, but UN officials have called it 'preliminary' and stated that it was not proof of wrongdoing. Perelli is reportedly preparing a response to the allegations to be released shortly. BBC News has more.

  • South Korea [government website] will launch its new, executively mandated, anti-terrorism agency Friday. The Terrorism Information Integration Center was set up by executive order from South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun [official profile] after an anti-terrorism bill failed in the National Assembly [government website]. Roh issued an executive order on March 15 that streamlined all current intelligence agencies into three functions: a regular informational meeting presided over by the Prime Minister, a standing terrorism information committee, and the TIIC. South Korea came under intense internal pressure to update its anti-terror network after Korean national Kim Sun-il was kidnapped and killed in Iraq last year and intelligence agencies failed to share information on the situation. Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.

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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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