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International brief ~ South Sudan legislature inaugurated

[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, the South Sudan legislature has been inaugurated, marking a key step in the development of a functioning government for the now autonomous southern region of Sudan. In accordance with the January 9 Comprehensive Peace Agreements [JURIST report], South Sudan will create an independent government that will work together with the main Sudanese government [official website] in the capital city of Khartoum until 2011, when South Sudan will hold a national referendum to decide whether to remain in Sudan or become an independent nation. The legislature was sworn-in in Juba, the operating capitol of South Sudan. The legislature's primary responsibility in its early stages will be the ratification of the newly-drafted Sudan Constitution [JURIST report] that delineates the power-sharing agreement reached in the January CPA. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • Zimbabwean Minister of State Security and Lands Reform Didymus Mutasa told reporters Thursday that under the new amendments to Zimbabwe's constitution [JURIST report], the government was planning to seize all arable farm land in the country and then redistribute the rights to work the land "irrespective of race." Under the new, controversial power, the government not only evicts the previous tenants of the farm land in question, it also seized title to the land permanently, effectively outlawing the private ownership of farm land. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] has been accused by various NGOs and rights groups as using the practice of kicking white farmers off of land they own as a means to incite racial division and maintain political power. In one of the first public criticisms of the government plan, Governor Gideon Gono of the Zimbabwean Reserve Bank [official website] called the evictions, often accomplished by mobs carrying a variety of weapons as opposed to official police personnel, criminal, and called on the government to stop the evictions. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. South Africa's Mail & Guardian has local coverage.

  • Two employees of the Kenya Times [media website] have been charged with breaking Kenyan press laws by publishing a story entitled "Coups in Africa do not occur out of nothing" in last week's Sunday edition. Senior editor Onyango Omollo and writer David Ochami were arrested Friday and charged under laws that prohibit Kenyan journalists from publishing 'alarming stories' that may cause fear and panic in the public in newspapers. The two men pleaded not guilty to the charges and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on October 14 and trial on November 8. If convicted, the two men could be sentenced to jail for up to two years. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Kenya [JURIST news archive]. Kenya's East African Standard has local coverage.

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