[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell [official profile] has denied claims by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] that the US and other Western governments were intentionally destroying Zimbabwe's international reputation, instead blaming poor government planning by Mugabe for the once-wealthy country's rapid collapse into economic and political chaos. Dell told a gathering of students and reporters in Zimbabwe that Mugabe's refusal to govern by the rule of law and his policies concerning land reform and government-controlled businesses were what resulted in Zimbabwe's current situation and that those same elements were why the international community has repeatedly condemned Mugabe for his actions. Dell also criticized the government regulation of the media and said that the lack of free, non-censored information had directly contributed to the nation's economic collapse. Dell has been threatened with expulsion previously for criticizing Mugabe's economic policies. ZimOnline has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- The Ugandan Parliament [official website] passed the Prisons Bill on Wednesday, which drastically reorganized the penal system in Uganda [JURIST news archive]. Chief among the changes legislated by the new law are the complete abolition of corporal punishment as a valid administrative tool and the creation of a nationwide Uganda Prisons Service, which will oversee all prisons in Uganda and be responsible for conducting regular reviews of the prisons to ensure they are complying with all penal system guidelines. The law also allows for any state-recognized human rights organization to request permission to tour a specific prison and produce a report on the conditions found there. The law codifies certain elements of the UN-based Standard Rules for the Minimum Treatment of Prisoners [text] into domestic law. From Uganda, the Daily Monitor has local coverage.
- The political cabinet of South African President Thabo Mbeki [BBC profile] has approved a final draft of the proposed Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Amendment Bill, which will now be submitted to the South African Parliament [official website] for consideration. The bill will permit the government to lawfully tap phone and internet conversations after obtaining a warrant from a designated judge. The bill also addresses the duties of mobile phone and SIM card providers and leading elements of the industry have met with the administration to work out what is possible in terms of keeping records of phone and SIM card purchasers. The bill also criminalizes the failure to report the theft or loss of a mobile phone. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Africa [JURIST news archive]. The Mail & Guardian Online has local coverage.
- The Supreme Court of India [official website] has agreed to hear a case that will decide whether privately owned and operated educational institutions in India will be forced to comply with state-determined minimum standards for principals specifically, and educational professionals generally. The case addresses the hiring of Swami Sukadevananda of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Centenary College in Rahara, which local teachers say violates the West Bengal College Service Commission Act, 1978, and the West Bengal College Teachers (Security of Services) Act, 1975. The high court that heard the case now being appealed had stated that a previous Supreme Court ruling denying the local government the right to interfere with the Mission school's constitution also implied that the local government couldn't decide who the school could hire. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of India [JURIST news archive]. Calcutta's Telegraph has local coverage.