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Legal news from Wednesday, May 31, 2006
by James M Yoch Jr

Justice George Gelaga King, newly-elected president of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), has dismissed a defense challenge to a prosecutor’s motion to move the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at …

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by James M Yoch Jr

President Bush Wednesday pledged to aid the Rwandan government in apprehending individuals involved in the 1994 genocide during a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the White House. Bush also offered to reimburse Rwanda for sending some of its troops to help quell the conflict in Darfur, where …

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by James M Yoch Jr

A preliminary investigation by the US Department of Defense (DOD) in February and March uncovered evidence that the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians by US Marines in Haditha in November were without warning or provocation, US officials said Wednesday. The evidence from the probe did not square with the accounts of the Marines …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A former Enron broadband executive was found guilty Wednesday on one count of falsifying records and conspiracy and three counts of wire fraud, and another was acquitted on the same five charges, one year after their first trial ended in a hung jury. Former CFO Kevin Howard, who was convicted, and senior accounting director …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A leader of the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Wednesday criticized Jordan's draft anti-terrorism legislation as an oppressive, US-influenced bid to stifle Jordan's government reform movement and encourage the establishment of a police state in the country. The bill, first proposed last November in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A group of survivors of the September 2004 Beslan school siege in the Russia's North Ossetia republic announced Wednesday that they will appeal the guilty verdict against Nurpashi Kulayev, the sole surviving attacker, to the Russian Supreme Court. The survivors, part of the Voice of Beslan (Golos Beslan) [advocacy …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US President George W. Bush on Wednesday publicly expressed concern about the alleged killings of 24 Iraqi civilians by US Marines in the city of Haditha in November 2005, declaring that any soldiers found guilty would be punished. Asked about the incident at a White House photo op, Bush said:I am troubled by the initial news stories. …

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by Jaime Jansen

A Spanish judge asked the Spanish Constitutional Court on Wednesday to reopen an investigation into corruption charges against former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stemming from Berlusconi's holdings in Spanish television channel Telecinco, which Spanish prosecutors believe exceeded the 25 percent television channel ownership cap imposed by Spanish law. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) held a plenary session Tuesday to consider revisions to the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence in which they "discussed methods to better organise trials, particularly at the pre-trial stage, in order to ensure more expeditious proceedings," according to an ICTY press release. …

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by Joe Shaulis

The parliament of Nepal has unanimously adopted a resolution that would guarantee citizenship papers to children in their mother's name only, even if the father is away or divorced, and require more-proportionate representation of women in the state work force. The resolution, passed Tuesday, is not yet law, but women's rights groups nonetheless hailed its passage. …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Thailand Supreme Court on Wednesday stepped up its efforts to pressure Thailand's Election Commission (EC) to resign over failed parliamentary elections in April, which the Constitutional Court annulled in early May, by rejecting two nominees to serve on the panel. Thailand's three principal courts have repeatedly called for the EC to resign …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Montenegro's referendum commission Wednesday officially confirmed the results of the country's May 21 referendum on independence from Serbia, verifying that 55.5% of the population of Montenegro voting had voted in favor. Because voters met the controversial threshold requirement of 55% approval set by the EU, the referendum will be incorporated into …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Law Commission, the independent legal reform body of the United Kingdom, has recommended creating limited legal rights for couples who live together but are unmarried, in a consultation paper released Wednesday titled "Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown." The paper proposes that a limited category of unmarried couples be afforded legal …

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by Joe Shaulis

Lawmakers in Afghanistan have called for the prosecution of US soldiers for a vehicle accident that killed as many as five Afghans and set off deadly riots earlier this week in the capital of Kabul. The nonbinding motion, passed in the Afghan Parliament Tuesday, calls for the soldiers to be handed over to Afghan …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

The Conservative Party government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced new legislation in the federal House of Commons Tuesday that would set fixed dates for regular federal elections [Privy Council Office backgrounder; Bill C-16 text] and would potentially limit members of the country's weak Senate to eight-year terms. Under the legislation, national …

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by Joe Shaulis

A federal judge has denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have forced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue a housing voucher program for evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. Without the restraining order, about 2,000 evacuees will lose their benefits on Thursday, as FEMA shifts to a program with more …

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by Jaime Jansen

Shortly after a meeting with President Bush, new Iraqi ambassador to the United States and former Iraq ambassador to the United Nations Samir al-Sumaida'ie said in a CNN interview Tuesday that US Marines intentionally killed his 21-year old cousin, Mohammed al-Sumaida'ie, in Haditha last June during a routine house search. Al-Sumaida'ie added that the second-year …

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by Joe Shaulis

Costa Rica's Supreme Court has upheld a law forbidding same-sex marriage, rejecting arguments that the law is unconstitutional. Hearing a lawsuit brought by lawyer Yashin Castrillo Fernandez, the court's Constitutional Chamber voted 5-2 to reject the argument that the same-sex marriage ban violates the principles of equality and autonomy expressed in Article …

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by Jaime Jansen

A US magistrate judge ruled Tuesday that US Department of Justice employees must disclose whether they were aware of the government monitoring conversations between Sept. 11 detainees and their attorneys. The judge's ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of a class of Arab and Muslim …

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by Jaime Jansen

Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic died of natural causes on March 11 when guards found him dead in his prison cell at the detention center for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and was not poisoned as some had speculated, according to the ICTY's final report released Wednesday. Security …

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by Jaime Jansen

Defense lawyers in the Saddam Hussein trial on Wednesday accused a prosecution witness of perjury and urged chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman to stop proceedings at the Iraqi High Criminal Court to investigate the credibility of all the prosecution witnesses. Defense lawyers showed a DVD in court depicting Ali al-Haidari, a witness for the prosecution, …

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