International brief ~ Squatters take eviction cases to Zimbabwe top court

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, 54 residents from a state-created squatter settlement on the northern border of Zimbabwean captal city Harare have taken their attempt to prevent the government from demolishing their homes to the nation's Supreme Court. Residents of the Hatcliffe Extension, which houses several hundred families and was created by the Zimbabwean government [official website] in the 1990s, have taken their case to block the demolition of their homes to the Supreme Court following a High Court ruling last week that found that the Harare city officials and police were acting within their power as they followed an order from Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] to evict and demolish squatters in the nation's largest cities, a move Mugabe claims is necessary to "restore the beauty" of Zimbabwe. Several rights and aids groups have been presenting legal challenges [JURIST report] to the policy, but this is the first case to be sent to the Supreme Court and rights activists fear that the case may be used to drastically set back the rights of homeless and indigent people. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe. ZimOnline has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • The defence ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [official website] have authorized NATO's involvement in the logistics of the UN-approved peacekeeping force [JURIST report] for Sudan by airlifting troops from contributing nations to their deployment areas, representing NATO's first presence on the African continent. African Union [official website] officials had approached NATO [JURIST report] about the possibility of logistical support for the deployment of its troops in Sudan from the primarily Europe-based communal defense organization. NATO's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer [official profile] made the announcement at the defence minister's meeting currently being held in Brussels. Government officials from Sudan have welcomed the announcement, but reiterated that Sudan would not allow any NATO troops to serve in the peacekeeping force. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. Read the official NATO press release. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

  • The Ugandan Electoral Commission has announced the wording of the question for the national referendum on party political reform scheduled to be held in Uganda [government website] in July. The referendum addresses whether Uganda will return to a multi-party political system, similar to the one it used to have, in time for next year's national presidential elections. Uganda currently operates under a system that allows for political parties to exist, but requires candidates for office to run as individuals, rather than representatives of parties. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [official profile], in power for the last 19 years, has come out in support of the referendum, and is encouraging Ugandans to support it. Opposition parties also favor the referendum, but have expressed concern that Museveni will use the special session of parliament needed to amend the constitution to allow a multi-party electoral system to also amend the constitution to allow him to run for a third term, something he is currently prohibited from doing. AFP has more.

  • Dinesh Chandra Pyakurel, former executive director of the Melamchi Water Supply Project, currently under investigation [JURIST report] by the Nepalese Royal Commission on Corruption Control, apparently committed suicide Thursday morning, according to police. Pyakurel ran the initial development of the Melamchi project, and later resumed the post of executive director after serving on the staff at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works. Pyakurel was expected to be one of the several former government officials, including former Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba [Wikipedia profile] and former Interior Minister Prakashman Singh, targeted by the RCCC's list of criminal charges scheduled to be released Friday. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

 

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