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International brief ~ Annan questions fairness of Zimbabwe elections

[JURIST] In Tuesday's international brief, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] has questioned the fairness of the recent national elections in Zimbabwe [government website]. In a statement issued Monday, Annan said that he was concerned that the electoral process failed to assure opposition parties of the fairness of the vote. Morgan Tsvangirai [party profile], president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change [party website] has already rejected the validity of the elections and government officials have warned that he might raise a mass protest in the streets. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has dismissed claims of election-rigging as “nonsense” and vowed to use the police and the army against any protestors. Read Annan’s statement [official text]. JURIST’s Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST Country news archive]. Zim Online has local coverage.

In other international legal news …

  • Kofi Annan has announced the appointment of four special envoys to help promote his recent report on UN reforms [JURIST report] that is scheduled to be considered by the UN General Assembly [official website] and international leaders in September. The In Larger Freedom [official website] report proposes significant changes to the structure of the UN, such as replacing the current Human Rights Commission [official website] with a new Human Rights Council that would have greater powers and a wider mandate and expanding membership of the UN Security Council [official website]. Annan’s proposal has met with criticism [JURIST report], and the four special envoys appointed will travel the globe meeting with governments, aid agencies, academics, social organizations and other interested parties. JURIST’s Paper Chase has continuing coverage of the United Nations [JURIST news archive]. Read the official announcement of the appointments from the Office of the Secretary-General.

  • Lawyers in Nepal [government website] filed a contempt of court motion Tuesday against the Royal Commission for Corruption Control, created by the Royal government [JURIST report], for initiating an investigation into a matter currently being considered by the Supreme Court of Nepal [official website]. The RCCC launched an investigation into alleged financial irregularities by the Dueba Cabinet, which was dismissed by the Royal state of emergency declaration [JURIST report] on February 1. The Nepalese Supreme Court is currently considering the same case, and the attorneys filing the contempt motion called the RCCC’s actions ‘illegal’ and requested an interim order to cease RCCC investigations. This is the second contempt proceeding filed against the RCCC; the first concerned a judge caught accepting bribes. Nepalese law allows for a judge to be tried by the Judicial Council, and the RCCC submitted to the contempt order requiring that they turn over the case to that body. JURIST’s Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST Country news archive]. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

  • Nigerian Senate Speaker Adolphus Wabara resigned Tuesday after allegations were levied by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo [official profile] that Wabara took a $400,000 (USD) bribe from former Education Minister Fabian Osuji. Osuji was fired from his post in March for offering the bribe, and Wabara’s resignation comes two weeks after allegations were released that he was the bribe’s recipient. Both men deny the charges. Obasanjo has been pushing hard to end corruption in Nigeria [government website], a nation rife with graft and bribery problems. The resignation comes one day after the Nigerian Housing and Urban Development Minister Mobolaji Osomo was fired for failing to follow regulations for selling houses on government land and former Inspector General of Police Tafa Balogun was charged with graft in a criminal court. The investigations are being run by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria, which has the power to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalize fraud and corruption in the government. Read the EFCC official press release. Reuters has more

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