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International brief ~ Peru judge orders 118 military officers arrested for 1988 massacre

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, a Peruvian judge has ordered the arrest of 118 current and retired military officers for their alleged involvement in a 1988 attack against the Andean village of Cayara [Amnesty International report], in which soldiers allegedly tortured and killed civilians in an attempt to gain information concerning a prior Shining Path [MIPT profile] attack. The order, the second order from a civilian judge for the arrest of military officials in the past year in Peru [government website in Spanish], puts Peru's civilian courts at odds with its military judicial system, which traditionally has jurisdiction over human rights abuses by military personnel. Human rights organizations have routinely criticized Peruvian military tribunals for handing out little more than reprimands in response to convictions for human rights abuses. AP has more.

In other international legal news ...

  • Twelve Indonesian soldiers convicted of killing civilians in Jakarta's Tanjung Priok port area [official website in Bahasa Indonesian] in 1984 had their convictions overturned Thursday in appellate court. The High Court decision overturned a human rights court conviction last year, finding that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the shootings, which resulted in 23 civilian deaths, were intentional as opposed to accidental. The decision is likely to raise concerns about traditional courts having appellate review of the newly established human rights courts, an issue already fiercely debated during their initial implementation. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more.

  • Bahama Tom Nyandunga, the recently appointed special envoy from the African Union [official website] assigned to assess the current situation in Zimbabwe following nearly two months of "Operation Restore Order", has been roundly dismissed by government officials in Harare, and has said that his entire mission is in danger of failing before it even begins. Nyandunga, a member of the AU Commission on Human and People's Rights [official website], was sent to Harare last Thursday, but has been denied diplomatic credentials by the Zimbabwe government [official website] and has reportedly informed superiors that they must decide whether to pressure Zimbabwe or simply withdraw the mission. The tension places Zimbabwe in an awkward situation, as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] has routinely depended upon the AU to blunt criticism from western nations regarding internal affairs in Zimbabwe. Experts have suggested that pressure by G8 nations and the potential prize of massive debt relief may cause the AU to alter its traditional defense of Mugabe's actions as internal politics. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette has local coverage.

  • Women marched in protest Wednesday against politicians in the Kenyan Parliament [government website] whom they accused of tampering with the affirmative action clauses in the draft constitution regulating the number of women delegates in Parliament. The current draft, agreed to at the Bomas constitutional meetings, set the number of required women members of Parliament at 1/3 of all available seats. Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee and the Parliamentary Consensus Group moved to have the clause introduced as controversial, which would put it on a list of items requiring separate approval before being included in the draft constitution. Women members of Parliament and several women's organizations vowed to exert political influence to see the draft constitution defeated if the clause was not left untouched. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Kenya [JURIST news archive]. Kenya's Daily Nation has local coverage.

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