International brief ~ Israeli rights group files suit against Iranian president

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, Israeli attorney Eran Shahar, representing Civil Coalition (CC), a civil rights group, has filed a lawsuit against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile] in the German Constitutional Court on charges of incitement and denying the existence of the World War II Holocaust [BBC backgrounder]. Shahar told reporters that Germany was the best place for the suit since it has adopted a new law allowing international litigation even when none of the parties have a significant connection to Germany. Additionally, denying the Holocaust has been a crime in Germany since 1993 and the law has been strictly enforced, meaning that the Germany's chief prosecutor will have to initiate criminal proceedings against Ahmadinejad if he finds sufficient evidence of criminal activity. Shahar said that the main goal of the litigation was to embarrass Ahmadinejad and possibly result in international arrest warrants against the radical leader, prohibiting him from traveling outside of Iran. The Jerusalem Post has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • Over 130 Ethiopians will be put back on trial on Thursday for charges of treason and conspiracy against the government [JURIST report] after Ethiopia agreed to allow an EU observer judge to monitor the disputed court proceedings. The presiding Ethiopian judge suspended the trial after learning that police officials were denying the accused access to their lawyers [JURIST report]. The 130 individuals include the majority of the leadership of all opposition political parties in Ethiopia and are accused of intentionally inciting violence [BBC report] in an attempt to overthrow the government during protests held last May and November [JURIST report]. The opposition members claim that the elections held last year were rigged and have refused to enter pleas in the trial, claiming that Ethiopia's judiciary is completely state-run. The Middle East Times has more.

  • At least 73 women were arrested in Harare, Zimbabwe on Tuesday for marching in protest against the upcoming celebration of the birthday of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile], scheduled for Saturday. Mugabe's birthday celebration is a non-state event, but all regional officials in Zimbabwe were told to contribute food and money to the event and the women marching, part of the National Constitutional Assembly [advocacy website], were protesting the requirement that they give up food when the majority of the country is struggling to find enough food to eat. Police are detaining the women pending criminal charges. International aid workers estimate that unless outside food aid is supplied, a measure which Mugabe has rejected multiple times, over 4 million Zimbabweans will starve by the end of the year. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

  • Nartay Dutbayev, the head of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee (KNB), has offered to resign, following the release of information Tuesday that tied five of his senior operatives to the death of opposition politician Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly in early February. Sarsenbaiuly was one of two opposition politicians to be found dead in the past four months and opposition groups have accused the Kazakhstan government [official website] of silencing vocal protesters. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev [BBC profile] has yet to announce whether he will accept the resignation. If accepted, the resignation would allow the prosecution of Dutbayev, if he is tied to the killing. BBC News has more.


 

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