[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, two recently released polls indicate that popular sentiment is heavily against the proposed EU constitution [official website] in the Netherlands [government website]. Polls by RTL Television and Centerdata both put the likely "no" vote on the EU constitution at 51%-54%, with only 27%-29% likely to vote "yes". The Netherlands referendum on the EU charter is scheduled for 1 June, only three days after France's referendum, and is the nation's first public referendum in over 200 years. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of the European Constitution [JURIST news archive]. Deutsche Welle has more.
In other international legal news ...
- Hazil Rahaman-Alan, the Venezuelan man convicted of carrying a high-explosives grenade into London's Gatwick airport in February, 2003, was sentenced to 6 years incarceration Friday. Rahaman-Alan was originally charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 [official text], but after hearing testimony, Judge Gerald Gordon held that Rahaman-Alan was not acting as a terrorist and the charges were changed to possession of a high explosive hand grenade with intent to endanger life under the Explosives Act and the Aviation Act. Rahaman-Alan was also sentenced to deportation back to Venezuela after serving his prison sentence. BBC News has local coverage.
- The last 1,300 UN peacekeepers in East Timor [government website] of what once was a 9,000 person force left Friday as the United Nations dramatically scaled back its operations in the island nation located off the coast of Indonesia. The UN mission officially ended in a ceremony conducted Thursday, while peacekeepers were flown out Friday with supporting military hardware. UN peacekeepers have been present since 1999, when a national referendum in favor of breaking away from Indonesia sparked massive violence and riots by pro-Jakarta rebel groups. The UN will maintain the UN Office in Timor-Leste, a political mission to the world's newest nation, advising leaders on how to continue the restoration of civil services and stabilizing the economy, until 20 May, 2006. The UN Mission in Support of East Timor [official website] has background and current developments. The UN News Centre has more.