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Legal news from Friday, June 16, 2006
by Bernard Hibbitts

US Department of Defense documents released Friday chronicle multiple mistreatments of Iraqi prisoners by US personnel in 2003 and 2004 but stop short of labeling the instances of mistreatment illegal, describing them instead as "wrong." Over 1000 pages of US military documents handed over to the ACLU pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request include two …

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by Jaime Jansen

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously agreed to a resolution authorizing the pending war crimes trial of ex-Liberian president Charles Taylor to be shifted from the facilities of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL} in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to the facilities of the International Criminal Court at …

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by Kiran Chapagain

Nepal's government and the Maoist rebels on Friday agreed to draft an interim constitution within 15 days and dissolve the parliament reinstated by the popular people's uprising in April this year. Surprisingly, the Maoists, who have been waging a people's war over a decade, also agreed to go for a competitive multiparty democracy and …

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by Jaime Jansen

Romania has concluded an investigation into alleged secret CIA prisons located near Romanian airports in Europe's "spider's web" of CIA rendition flights, finding no evidence that the country hosted secret prisons or cooperated in rendition flights. A committee of the Romanian Senate undertook the investigation in response to allegations leveled …

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by Joshua Pantesco

During a two-day European Union summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Friday that attempts to revive the European Constitution will be delayed until 2008 and won't occur during Germany's six-month presidency of the European Council as Germany had hoped. The proposed European Constitution [official website, text; JURIST …

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by Jaime Jansen

The UK Foreign Office on Friday took control of the case of Australian David Hicks, an accused Taliban member who has been detained at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay for over four years. The UK High Court has ruled that Britain should grant citizenship to Hicks because …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The kickback fraud case against leading class action law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman has hit unexpected delays as five judges from the US District Court for the Central District of California, which covers Los Angeles, have recused themselves from the case. The five recusals have been attributed to owning stock in a company …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) has threatened to subpoena administration documents on its warrantless domestic spying program if US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales does not respond to Specter's requests to answer questions on domestic spying and a host of other issues, including presidential signing statements and last month's FBI raid on …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a 15-year-old girl can enter into a common-law marriage, remanding a case involving the common-law marriage between a 38-year Willis Rouse and a teenage girl for a lower court to determine the validity of their marriage. The appellate court overruled a decision by a lower court that the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

An appeals court in Japan on Friday dismissed the appeal of a lawsuit brought in 1997 by 42 Chinese plaintiffs against the Japanese government and ten Japanese corporations seeking compensation for forced labor, saying the statute of limitations has expired on claims arising out of events that happened during World War II. The Court acknowledged that …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Maryland American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed a class action lawsuit in Baltimore Circuit Court Thursday alleging that Baltimore police systematically arrest people and hold them for hours without charge. The lawsuit - which names Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Australian Senate on Thursday narrowly voted down a motion to disallow a regulation approved by Australia Governor-General Michael Jeffrey allowing the federal government to effectively veto the Civil Unions Bill 2006, recently passed by the legislature in the of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) federal district. The ACT bill …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Australian Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, responding Friday to a independent review of new security laws, defended the government's power to define which groups are terrorist organizations subject to criminal penalties. The Security Legislation Review Committee, a public and independent body charged with reviewing the Security Acts dealing with terrorism, released a 262-page report Thursday recommending …

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by Jaime Jansen

Pusho Ibrahim Ali Daza Yei, Iraq's deputy justice minister, has said that Shiite militias control Iraq's prison system and that Iraq "cannot control the prisons." Yei said that Shiite militiamen free other militia members that have been convicted of major crimes, while executing Sunni inmates. In a letter to US Army Maj. Gen. John Gardner, commander of …

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by Jaime Jansen

Defense lawyers for the US Marines accused of killing 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha last November plan to scrutinize the authenticity of the videotape described in the TIME magazine report that first prompted an investigation into the deaths, should charges be filed against the Marines. Attorneys will also question the credibility of Hammurabi Human …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US military on Friday said that the Army's Criminal Investigation Command will conduct an investigation into the deaths of three detainees in US custody in the Salahaddin province of Iraq, located north of Baghdad. The investigation into deaths, which occurred on or around May 9, results from reported suspicions from soldiers.The investigation comes …

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