Legal news from Wednesday, January 11, 2006
20:01 EDT

[JURIST] US Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine [official profile] has forwarded a request to investigate President Bush’s authorization [JURIST report] of National Security Agency (NSA) eavesdropping on US residents [JURIST report] to the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, citing a lack of jurisdiction to begin his own inquiry into [read more]

19:01 EDT

[JURIST] Abdul Aziz Hakim [Wikipedia profile], leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the country’s most powerful Shiite politician, said Wednesday that a new Iraqi government dominated by religious Shiites elected in the December 15 parliamentary vote [JURIST report] would not “change the essence” of the [read more]

19:01 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments Wednesday in House v. Bell [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], where it will decide whether appellant Paul Gregory House, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the abduction, attempted rape and murder of Carolyn Muncey [read more]

18:01 EDT

[JURIST] The UN Wednesday officially named Serge Brammertz [official profile], Deputy Prosecutor with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] and a former Belgian federal prosecutor, as the new Commissioner of the ongoing UN investigation into the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive; [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] A Yemeni man alleged to have been an al Qaeda propagandist and security officer for Osama bin Laden told a US military commission at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] Wednesday that he was boycotting the just-reconvened proceedings [JURIST report]. At a pre-trial hearing, Ali Hamza al-Bahlul held up a [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] A man from the Georgian Republic who lobbed a grenade toward US President George W. Bush while he was on a visit there in May last year was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday by a Georgian court. Vladimir Arutunyan [Wikipedia profile], who originally confessed but later recanted, landed [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] Argentine judge Jorge Urso has decided to send accused Bosnian Serb war criminal Milan Lukic, arrested in Buenos Aires [JURIST report] in August, to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website] in The Hague for trial, according to AFP sources. Lukic, one of the 10 most-wanted [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] The families of fifteen Cubans deported when they failed to reach US soil have filed suit in US District Court, claiming that the US government's so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy is inconsistent with US and international law. The fifteen Cubans fled their homeland in a small homemade boat, but only [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] The 23-member Santiago Appeals Court Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling [JURIST report] granting former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive; BBC profile] bail, but at the same time stripped him of immunity an additional human rights case, opening the way for prosecutors to charge him with crimes [read more]

14:01 EDT

[JURIST] Democratic senators on the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Wednesday pressed apparent inconsistencies in answers to questions by Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito [official profile; JURIST news archive] during his third day of his confirmation hearings. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) [official website] contrasted Alito's Tuesday testimony that [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] Spanish authorities have charged former Argentine naval officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo [TrialWatch profile] with genocide for his involvement in the disappearance of hundreds of people during a 1976 Argentine military coup. Papers published Wednesday allege that between 20,000 and 30,000 people were forcibly kidnapped or "disappeared" following the takeover, [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot [official profile] said Wednesday that the EU constitution [JURIST news archive] is "dead" as far as the Netherlands is concerned, rejecting promised efforts [JURIST report] earlier this week by Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik [official profile] to attempt to revive the charter. Bot spoke [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] The East African country of Djibouti [CIA backgrounder] has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] to settle a dispute [ICJ press release] over whether a French judge has the authority to summon high-level Djibouti witnesses to investigate the possible assassination of a French judge in 1995. [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] A German court on Wednesday announced that the trial of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel [ADL profile; CBC backgrounder] will restart on February 9, with a verdict expected sometime in March. Zundel's trial was postponed in November after Judge Ulrich Meinerzhagen fired one of Zundel's defense lawyers [JURIST report]. Germany [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] Saidjahan Zainabiddinov, an Uzbek human rights activist who witnessed an violent uprising in Andijan [HRW backgrounder] last May has been put on trial on charges of undermining the constitutional system and assisting terrorism for aiding journalists covering the uprising and telephoning foreign embassies. Zainabiddinov gave eyewitness accounts of the [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday sent memos to immigration judges [PDF] and the Board of Immigration Appeals [PDF text, both via How Appealing] informing them that he has ordered a review of US immigration courts. Gonzales said the review was necessary because [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] The New Jersey Legislature [official website] has passed two bills that, if enacted into law, will increase the legal rights of same-sex couples [JURIST news archive]. In one bill, same-sex couples will have the same rights as married couples regarding inheritance and funeral arrangements; in the second, gay couples [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] The terror suspect detention facility at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] marked its fourth anniversary [AP report] Wednesday, the same day military tribunals for suspected terrorists resumed [JURIST report] after a year-long hiatus. Separate proceedings were scheduled for Ali Hamza al Bahlul, a Yemeni [read more]

10:01 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled 5-4 Wednesday that a death sentence can stand in some circumstances even when the sentencing jury relied in part on a factor later found invalid. In Brown v. Sanders [Duke Law case backgrounder], the Court considered the appeal of convicted murderer Ronald [read more]

09:01 EDT

[JURIST] Burundi's Justice Minister Clotilde Niragira said Tuesday that 673 political prisoners held for alleged crimes related to Burundi's 12-year civil war [Global Security backgrounder] have been released. Niragira said that those released will face a special commission that will determine whether the prisoners committed abuses and crimes during the [read more]

08:01 EDT

[JURIST] A group of parents filed a lawsuit against Frazier Mountain High School [school website] on Tuesday, arguing that a religion-based class teaching an alternative to evolution should be removed from the curriculum because it violates the US Constitution. The suit claims that the class, taught by a minister's wife, [read more]

08:01 EDT

[JURIST] Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile] on Wednesday defended his use of criminal defamation lawsuits to silence critics of his ruling Cambodian People's Party [party website], claiming the lawsuits were in response to unjust accusations. The US and other countries have voiced opposition to the arrests [JURIST report] [read more]

08:01 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] enters its third day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito [official profile] Wednesday morning with more questions scheduled from senators. On Tuesday, Alito parried questions on abortion and wiretaps [JURIST report], facing a stiff interrogation [Washington Post transcript] [read more]

07:01 EDT

[JURIST] UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw [official profile] said Tuesday that a records search conducted by the British government seeking US rendition requests has found three instances where the Clinton administration sought permission to transport prisoners through its airspace. The report comes after a government statement in December [JURIST report] [read more]

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