A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

International brief ~ Palestinian presidential powers bill referred to high court

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, a bill passed by the out-going Fatah party in the Palestinian Authority which granted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] greater presidential powers, including the power to set up a constitutional court [JURIST report] staffed by judges picked by the president, has been referred to the Palestinian Supreme Court. The referral follows heated debates in the Palestinian Legislative Council [official website] between Fatah legislators and the now-majority Hamas party over the legitimacy of the bill on Monday that resulted in Abbas losing the powers [JURIST report] until the Supreme Court rules on the issue. Hamas members claim that they have the power to revoke the legislation without having to pass a new law, while Fatah members claim that the bill was properly approved by a legitimate parliament and therefore must be revoked in accordance with the law. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of the Palestinian Authority [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more.

In other international legal news ...

  • Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] told EU and US officials that Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye [BBC profile] would not have to face another trial under the General Court-Martial on charges of treason and firearms possession [JURIST report] while also being tried for the same charges in civilian court. Museveni declined to say whether the charges would be dismissed however, prompting concerns that the GCM proceedings could be re-initiated following the conclusion of the civilian trials. Uganda's Constitutional Court has ruled that the concurrent trial of Besigye by the GCM is unconstitutional [JURIST report] and ordered the GCM to cease and desist. GCM Chairman Elly Tumwine has defied the ruling [JURIST report] however, and proclaimed their intent to continue the prosecution of Besigye and his co-defendants. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Uganda [JURIST news archive]. Uganda's Daily Monitor has local coverage.

  • Mexico [government website in Spanish] has announced plans to increase security at its immigration facilities that deal with hundreds of Cuban immigrants seeking entry into the country. The announcement follows the riot and kidnapping of a Mexican immigration official by Cuban detainees who were attempting to bargain for their release into Mexico. Currently, illegal immigrants ineligible for asylum under international law are detained in border facilities that are allegedly worse than most Mexican prisons. Cuba [government website in Spanish] must recognize the detained individuals before they can be returned home, a process often delayed by the Cuban government, allegedly as a punishment to those who left the only remaining communist nation in the western hemisphere. Mexico routinely deals with thousands of illegal immigrants from Central and South America in a matter of days, but Cuban illegal immigrants can face months of detention before being returned. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Mexico [JURIST news archive]. AP has more.

  • David Mills, a private lawyer and husband to British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, is scheduled to hear from prosecutors in Milan, Italy on whether or not he will be indicted on charges of allegedly falsifying testimony [JURIST report] in court for financial gain on behalf of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [official profile]. Concerns were raised over Mills' relationship with Berlusconi after a financial review revealed that Mills had accepted a "one time gift" of more than £300,000 (GBP) from the Italian prime minister. Berlusconi, often alleged to be the "most corrupt ruler in Europe," and Mills have both denied the allegations. If convicted, Mills could face actual incarceration under Italy's anti-corruption laws. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Italy [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has local coverage.

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.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.