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Legal news from Thursday, July 6, 2006
by Tom Henry

Former US Army soldier Steven Green pleaded not guilty Thursday in US District Court to rape and murder charges in connection with the death of an Iraqi woman and three of her relatives in Mahmudiya in March. Green also agreed that his case would be prosecuted in the federal Western …

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by Tom Henry

Lawyers for Saddam Hussein turned to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday, asking it to investigate alleged violations of law regarding his treatment and that of defense witnesses by US personnel. A copy of the application obtained by AFP argued that the Iraqi trial of Saddam was illegal and that Saddam was "a prisoner …

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by Tom Henry

Five special rapporteurs making up the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday called on the US to set a date for closing its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. In a statement, the group urged the US "to develop …

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by Jaime Jansen

Mexican ruling party candidate Felipe Calderon narrowly won Sunday's presidential election with some 220,000 votes more than leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, according to official results released Thursday by Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). Lopez Obrador said, however, that he …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The European Parliament adopted an interim report Thursday that agrees with earlier findings by the Council of Europe (COE) that European states were complicit in alleged incidents of CIA extraordinary rendition. The report criticizes European nations for failing to act or complying with CIA efforts to illegally seize terror suspects on European …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Iraqi officials and local leaders have stepped up pressure on the US military to take swift corrective action in the face of allegations that troops raped an Iraqi woman and murdered her and her family near the town of Mahmudiya in March. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Thursday "We will talk to the officials in the multinational forces to …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Work on the new interim constitution of strife-torn Nepal formally began Thursday, the six-person Interim Constitution Drafting Committee (ICDC) announced at a press conference. The ICDC, formed three weeks ago in a historic contract between the interim government and Maoist rebels, expects to publish a final draft within fifteen days. Though informal work …

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by Jaime Jansen

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has criticized Iraq's recently-announced most-wanted list, implicitly taking National Security Adviser Mowafaq al-Rubai'i to task for including two women, Saddam Hussein's eldest daughter Raghad and first wife Sajida. On Thursday Talabani also expressed disappointment that the list demands the extradition of the 41 …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Hollinger Inc., the Canadian holding company with an interest in the newspaper publisher Hollinger International, filed a lawsuit Thursday in an Ontario court against former CEO Conrad Black and other former Hollinger associates requesting damages in excess of $700 million. The suit also names as defendants the Ravelston Corp. Ltd., …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a record-setting jury verdict that had awarded $145 billion in punitive damages in a class action challenge brought by smokers against tobacco companies. The Court vacated the punitive damages award, unanimously concluding it was "excessive as a matter of law."Tobacco companies, including Philip Morris USA, a …

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by Joshua Pantesco

An Israeli military tribunal Wednesday extended the detentions of five Palestinian Hamas lawmakers for an additional five days. The five - four MPs and one cabinet member - challenged the authority of the Israel Defense Forces court at the Ofer military base in the West Bank to hear their case, arguing that the tribunal has no authority …

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by Jeannie Shawl

AP is reporting that the Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage contained in a 2004 constitutional amendment. In May, a lower court judge ruled the ban unconstitutional because the amendment violated the single-subject rule, which prohibits voters from deciding more than one issue at …

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by Jaime Jansen

North Korea on Thursday claimed it has a "legal right" to build and test missiles in an effort to strengthen self-defense, in a statement from the foreign ministry which also confirmed that the country test-launched seven missiles earlier this week. North Korea also promised to continue missile launches, and threatened to use force if …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Google is prepared to file antitrust complaints against Internet broadband providers if Congress fails to pass effective net neutrality legislation, Google Vice President Vinton Cerf has told a press conference in Bulgaria. Cerf suggested that the claims could be based on service providers exploiting their control over their infrastructure to interfere with services provided by competitors. After …

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by Jaime Jansen

France has responded to reports that its intelligence agents interviewed six former Guantanamo Bay detainees now on trial in Paris while they were detained at the US prison, saying that the agents visited the detainees for the administrative purposes of identifying the French citizens and generally assessing their situation. The French Foreign …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Gunmen ambushed and killed a former Iraqi judge on Thursday in western Baghdad, also wounding his son and driver, according to Iraqi police. Saleh Hassan Yass al-Awsi, a Sunni, was among those removed from office by the Iraqi government's Debaathification Commission and was a strong voice in the push to petition Iraq's new parliament to …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The sudden death of former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay on Wednesday presents the legal system, Lay's family and Lay's own legacy with major challenges, according to a University of Houston law professor who closely followed the trial that led to Lay's conviction this spring. In a Thursday op-ed on JURIST, Professor Nancy Rapoport says that …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US House Committee on Government Reform is waiting for the US Defense Department and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to comply with a subpoena seeking to compel the Pentagon to turn over several documents, including all drafts of a key report in the Abu Ghraib abuse investigation. In March, the Pentagon failed …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled Thursday morning that New York's ban on same-sex marriage is not unconstitutional. The ruling comes in four consolidated cases where attorneys representing 48 gay and lesbian couples argued that a 97-year-old statute limiting marriage to a union between …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Georgia's latest attempt to implement photo identification cards for voters was challenged Wednesday by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates, who filed a motion in federal district court seeking a preliminary injunction, arguing that the bill authorizing the cards violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment as well …

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by Joe Shaulis

Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony must be arrested, a spokesman for the International Criminal Court (ICC) said Wednesday, a day after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni promised Kony conditional amnesty. The ICC spokesman told the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), the UN's editorially independent humanitarian news agency, that Uganda, Sudan …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Russian Duma, the lower house of parliament, overwhelmingly passed a draft law Wednesday that would give Russian President Vladimir Putin the right to use Russia's armed forces and secret services abroad for counterterrorism measures. Putin asked parliament for greater counterterrorism powers last week after five Russian diplomats were abducted and …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Army prosecutors charged 1st Lt. Ehren Watada late Wednesday in connection with his refusal to deploy to Iraq with the rest of his unit last week. Watada announced in early June that he would not deploy because he believes the Iraq war is unlawful, adding …

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