International brief ~ Kyrgyz elections postponed as parliament mulls Akayev trial
D. Wes Rist at 1:57 PM ET
[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international legal news, the continuing dispute over how to remove former Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akayev [archived profile] has resulted in the postponement of the national elections originally scheduled for June. Akayev signed legal resignation papers Monday [JURIST report] in Moscow, but the Kyrgyz Parliament has not yet accepted his resignation. Kyrgyz [DC Embassy website] legislators are arguing over whether to allow him to resign - which would permit him to keep the internationally accepted immunity granted to former heads of state - or to impeach or even try Akayev for leaving the coutnry in the middle of a crisis. The failure to agree on Akayev's status has resulted in the original June 26 national election date being rejected by the new parliament and the selection of a new date being postponed until after a decision has been reached about Akayev. In related Kyrgyzstan news, oppostion leader Felix Kulov [party profile] appeared before the Kyrgyzstan Supreme Court Thursday to appeal the second of his two former convictions as being politically motivated and therefore invalid. A criminal abuse of power conviction was overturned [JURIST report] Wednesday, and Kulov needs the second charge of criminal corruption to be reversed as well in order to be able to run for the Kyrgyz presidency. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage on Kyrgyzstan [JURIST Country news archive]. BBC News has more. Itar-Tass has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- A group of Russian legislators are presenting a draft bill designed to grant a blanket amnesty to all Russian World War II veterans for crimes committed since the end of the war in connection with the upcoming V-E day [Wikipedia entry] commemorations on May 8. The amnesty would apply regardless of the seriousness of the crime or the amount of time already served, but would be denied to WWII veterans that had alrady been granted an amnesty after 1995 but had committed a serious, violent crime since then, or veterans that were found to be recidivists. The draft legislation was submitted to the Duma [government website in Russian] Thursday, and is currently being considered by the Legislation Committee. Itar-Tass has local coverage.
- The Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya [advocacy website] anounced its support Thursday for provisions to be entered into the Sexual Offences Draft Bill currently before the Kenyan Parliament [government website] that would result in chemical castration of convicted rapists. Fida chairperson Jane Onyango called for the inclusion of chemical castration in the draft legislation due to the continued rise in violent rape statistics in Kenya [government website]. Onyango said that reports had been filed of eight month old infants being raped and that severe punishment was the only way to curtail such activity. The East African Standard has local coverage.
- Three international human rights groups issued a joint statement Wednesday warning that recent releases of political detainees in Nepal [government website] should not lull the world into believing that the human rights situation in the county has improved. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Commission of Jurists [advocacy websites] included in the joint statement a call for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] to create a satellite office in Nepal, as well as to appoint a Special Rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in the country. The Commission on Human Rights [official website] is currently holding its 61st annual meeting, and there is a possibility of a Swiss-drafted resolution on the situation in Nepal. JURIST's Paper Chase continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Read the official text of the press release. Kantipur Online has local coverage.
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