[JURIST] TIME magazine reporter Matthew Cooper said Sunday in an article he has written on his grand jury testimony [text] that Dick Cheney's chief of staff Lewis Libby [Wikipedia profile] contributed information to the story revealing the identity of Valerie Plame [Wikipedia profile] as a CIA operative. Cooper said he spoke to Libby regarding a trip to Africa that Plame authorized for her husband, former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson [Wikipedia profile], to investigate uranium sold to Iraq. Cooper said Libby replied, "Yeah, I've heard that too." The White House has been denying that either Libby or White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove [Wikipedia profile] had any connections to the leak for the past two years. Cooper said he was asked by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald during the grand jury hearing if Rove told him how he learned Plame worked at the CIA and Cooper responded he did not. Rove has contended that he learned the information from the news media [JURIST report]. AP has more.
[JURIST] A Jordan Public Security Department spokesman said Sunday that five suspected al-Qaida prisoners started a hunger strike on Tuesday to protest sentences handed down by Jordan's State Security Court [Jordan judicial branch backgrounder] in 2000. The prisoners are being held in Jordan's Qafqa Prison for their convictions for terrorist-related activities. Two of the prisoners have received death sentences and the group wrote a letter stating, "it has been six years since our arrest and until now there has been no final verdict." The men were referencing the fact that an appeals court overturned the verdicts against them on several occasions, most recently in April. UPI has more.
[JURIST] Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Warner (R-VA) [official websites] are drafting a bill which would provide clear and uniform rules [JURIST report] for detention, interrogation and prosecution of prisoners during wartime, according to a new report in Newsweek magazine. The bill would follow international anti-torture laws and treaties, and revisions are being proposed for Army Field Manual 34-52 [text], which was the primary source on guidelines for prisoner interrogation prior to changes made by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [White House profile]. The senators' efforts would remove control over such matters from Rumsfeld and the Pentagon is attempting to head off the potential bill by working with the Defense Department to revise the manual first. News of the bill came after McCain denounced the treatment of Gitmo detainees at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing [witness list, executive summary] last week to question Army General Bantz Craddock, head of the US Southern Command which oversees the naval base. Craddock refused to follow recommendations [JURIST report] from a Southern Command report [PDF] to reprimand former Guantanamo commander Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller [Wikipedia profile] for the abusive interrogation of a detainee. The senators' bill may be proposed this coming week. Newsweek has more.
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official website] has called for ex-Liberian president Charles Taylor, currently in exile in Nigeria, to stand trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone [JURIST news archive] on 17 counts of war crimes committed during his 15-year rule. On a visit to Sierra Leone, Arbour said "I call and will continue to call publicly not only on (Nigerian) President Obasanjo but all African leaders to transfer Taylor to Sierra Leone to stand trial". Clark was allowed to settle in Calabar, southern Nigeria after his August 2003 ouster following decades of civil war. World leaders, including US President Bush, have also pressured [JURIST report] Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo [official website] to turn Taylor over to UN authorities. AFP has more.
[JURIST] In a greatly anticipated move, the government of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive] has published a draft bill proposing sweeping changes to the country's constitution [text], including the creation of a new two-chamber parliament. Shortly after the elections last year, President Robert Mugabe [wikipedia profile], leader of the ruling Zanu PF party [official website], announced plans to amend the constitution [JURIST report] and hold votes on a constitutional amendment to liquidate all private land ownership and convert all productive farmland to government control [JURIST report]. Critics contend that the creation of a bicameral parliament, consisting of a senate and lower house, is simply a way for Mugabe to pack the legislative body with his loyalists. The Mail & Guardian has more.
[JURIST] A Serbian war crimes court Friday convicted and sentenced four former members of the Avengers parliamentary group to prison terms of fifteen to twenty years for their involvement in the 1992 abduction and murder of 16 Muslim men and women. Some consider the convictions an indication that Serbian courts are capable of conducting impartial investigations and trials into war crimes committed against Muslims during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Two of the men sentenced are still at large, including top war crimes suspect Milan Lukic [Bosnian Institute background], who has been charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [JURIST news archive] with the 1993 abduction and murder of 20 Muslims. AP has more.
[JURIST] An investigation conducted by the US Navy Criminal Investigation Services [official website] has found no evidence to support allegations that Australian Guantanamo Bay detainees were abused. In a letter written to Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official website] released Saturday, Principal Deputy US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Ryan Henry noted that a exhaustive year-long inquiry undertaken at the request of Australian authorities [JURIST report] revealed "no information that substantiates or corroborates allegations of abuse" of terror suspects David Hicks [JURIST news archive; Fair Go for David advocacy website] and Egyptian-born Australian Mamdouh Habib [JURIST news archive]. Hicks was taken into custody in August 2001, and is still awaiting trial by a military commission on charges of conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy. Habib was released [JURIST report] in January after three years in custody at the terror suspect detention camp, and has since alleged that he was mistreated at the hands of US authorities. Reuters has more. Mamdouh Habib is sticking by his abuse claims [Australian Broadcasting Corporation report] following the US military report's release.
[JURIST] The Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website; JURIST news archive] announced Sunday that it has filed its first formal criminal charge against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] in connection with the 1982 killing of some 150 Shiites in the village of Dujail [NPR report] in retribution for an assassination attempt. Press reports anticipated last month [JURIST report] that the Dujail case would be the first one brought. Raed Juhi, the tribunal's top investigating judge, said that other charges would be filed as investigations of other cases are concluded, and that a trial date for Hussein would be set in the next few days. Under Iraqi law, a trial can begin no sooner than 45 days after a charge is filed, although the Tribunal did not say exactly when this charge was laid. Three other former Iraqi officials will stand trial with Hussein. The accused could face the death penalty if convicted. BBC News has more.
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