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International brief ~ Kenyans reject draft constitution in referendum

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, Kenya's anti-draft constitution Orange Movement has gained an insurmountable lead according to the Electoral Commission of Kenya [backgrounder] following Monday's national referendum [JURIST report] on the proposed draft Constitution [official text]. The Electoral Commission released official results that put the Orange Movement up by more than one million votes, nearly 16 percent of those voting. The capital city of Nairobi is already packed with people celebrating the draft constitution's defeat as an example of victory over a corrupt government that tried to force an anti-democratic process through against the voters' wishes. MPs from the Orange Movement have already called on Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] to fire corrupt ministers involved in the constitutional referendum process. The East African Standard has released preliminary tallies of regional votes. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Kenya [JURIST news archive]. Kenya's East African Standard has local coverage. The Mail and Guardian Online has more.

In other international legal news ...

  • Sudanese Minister of Justice Mohammed Ali al-Mardi has re-emphasized the Sudanese Government [official website] position that all individuals alleged to have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur [JURIST news archive] region of Sudan will be tried domestically and that no extradition processes will be approved to remove suspects to any international court. Sudan has repeatedly refused to consider the use of international courts, specifically the International Criminal Court [official website], as a possible solution to allegations by NGOs and human rights organizations that Sudanese courts are biased and too politicized to render fair and impartial verdicts. Al-Mardi highlighted the announcement on Monday by the Sudanese Chief of Justice that two special courts were scheduled to be formed to deal with Darfur cases as proof of the efficiency and fairness of the Sudanese judiciary. Last week, a Sudanese war crimes court sentenced two soldiers to death [JURIST report] after they were convicted of torturing and killing a Sudanese citizen who the soldiers said was carrying out anti-government activities. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

  • Nepalese Attorney General Pawan Kumar Ojha argued before the Nepal Supreme Court [official website] on Monday that all orders from Nepalese King Gyanendra [official profile] are legal due to his status as a Hindu monarch. Ojha, arguing against a case that challenges the constitutionality of the Royal Commission for Corruption Control, told the Supreme Court Justices that the King had special power from the Nepalese Constitution [text] and from his position as spiritual leader of the country that meant that his orders could not be questioned as unconstitutional. Ojha argued that Article 35 (2) of the constitution, which requires consent of the Council of Ministers for royal edicts, cannot function since there are currently no elected ministers. The petitioners argue that the King's decision to remove the elected government [JURIST report] in February does not negate the constitution's requirements. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

  • UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC] says that China [government website] is demonstrating a commendable respect for human rights norms by allowing him un-announced visits to Chinese prisons and unsupervised interviews with prisoners. Nowak has been invited to visit China amid growing concerns that despite a 1996 legal ban on the use of torture in police investigations, local and regional police forces still use the practice to secure confessions. NGOs and human rights groups have alleged that the Chinese government is aware of these abuses and is simply turning a blind eye. Nowak will spend two weeks in China [JURIST report] and has the power to adjust his schedule to visit any location he chooses, giving him the ability to conduct true 'surprise inspections' of Chinese prisons. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of China [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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