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International brief ~ Japan concerned Chinese ship ban violates international law

[JURIST] Leading Monday's international brief, Japan [JURIST news archive] has raised concerns that a navigation ban on commercial ships in part of the East China Sea may actually violate Japan's sovereignty and international law under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [text]. China's navigation ban covers part of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone [Wikipedia backgrounder], a demarcation that China doesn't recognize. The ban is intended to allow Chinese workers to lay pipes for accessing natural gas reserves beneath the ocean floor. Japan has alleged that the ban is a violation of its territorial sovereignty and argues that the existence of the EEZ is recognized by international law. The Japanese Embassy in China has stated that it is seeking clarification of the exact location of the navigation ban and Japanese politicians have announced their intent to lodge a formal complaint if the report is confirmed. The Japan Times has local coverage. BBC News has more.

In other international legal news...

  • The African Union [official website] opened a Committee of Inquiry [press release, PDF] on Sunday to investigate allegations that AU troops were committing sexual assault and rape against residents of the Darfur region [JURIST news archive] in Sudan, where the AU is currently leading an ongoing peacekeeping mission. The committee is chaired by a leading women's rights expert and includes experts in human rights and women's rights from the UN, the EU, and other civil and human rights organizations. The AU Special Representative to Sudan Baba Gana Kingibe said that the committee would have full investigative powers and would also be involved in making recommendations for sanctions to be imposed against any individuals convicted of a crime. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

  • Nearly two dozen journalists in Nepal [government website] were given 90 detention orders on Monday after they protested the Nepalese government's treatment of journalists engaged in pro-democracy protests over the weekend. The continued pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] in Nepal have resulted in the government using detention orders to remove civic leaders and protest officials from the public and keep them away from other demonstrators. The newspapers and television stations of the detained journalists have called on Nepalese citizens to continue protesting King Gyanendra [official profile, BBC profile and have called on Gyanendra to abdicate the throne. NepalNews.com has local coverage.

  • A lawyer for former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [JURIST news archive] has said that no criminal charges will be sought [press release] against a cellmate that attacked Khodorkovsky [JURIST report] over the weekend, causing him to received stitches for a wound to his face. The cellmate is currently in solitary confinement while the prison conducts an investigation. Supporters of Khodorkovsky have alleged that the Russian government is behind repeated instances of difficulty in prison for the former oil tycoon, now serving a sentence for tax evasion. Khodorkovsky maintains his innocence and has alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin [official profile] has intentionally framed him due to his outspoken political ideals. MosNews.com has local coverage.

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