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Legal news from Friday, July 14, 2006
by Joshua Pantesco

Top UN officials Friday condemned Israel, the Palestinians and Lebanese Hezbollah militants for intentionally inflicting civilian casualties on one another contrary to international humanitarian law as violence continued to escalate in the Middle East, with Israel stepping up military action against Lebanese targets and Hezbollah militants attacking Haifa with rockets. Fighting has intensified in recent days as …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The Court held that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the challenge on behalf of three …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A legal advisor to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Friday that the plan of Yushchenko's political rival and former Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, to directly nominate a candidate to serve as prime minister could constitute an illegal seizure of power. Ukraine is in the midst of a political crisis as no …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Belgrade prosecutors filed criminal charges against ten Serbs on Friday, accusing them of hiding indicted war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic from authorities, according to Belgrade radio station B92. The charges say the accused aided Mladic with the knowledge that he is wanted for trial by the International Criminal Tribunal …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) told reporters Friday that he anticipates easy passage of a bill renewing expiring sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) when it comes before the full Senate. Frist said the Senate will vote on the bill either by the end of June …

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by Jaime Jansen

Accusations against Guantanamo Bay detainees made in declassified documents contain basic factual errors and easily-refuted claims, the Boston Globe reported Friday. After reviewing declassified records, Globe journalists uncovered a number of simple mistakes that they said raised "questions about whether the US military has thoroughly investigated its cases against the roughly 400 inmates." Lawyers defending detainees …

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by Jaime Jansen

Indian officials have named three suspects in Tuesday's Mumbai train bombings that killed some 180 people in seven different coordinated blasts after authorities detained 350 people for questioning Thursday. The suspects - Sayyad Zabiuddin and Zulfeqar Fayyaz named Thursday and a third man known only as Rahil - were …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte was unceremoniously cut off at a Friday hearing for seven Bosnian Serbs indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in connection with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre when she began a speech memorializing the massacre's 11th anniversary. Defense counsel objected to the speech, calling …

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by Jeannie Shawl

AP is reporting that a federal appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that struck down Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage. A federal judge struck down the ban last May, ruling that it interferes with the rights of gay couples and also with those of foster parents, adopted children and people in many …

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by Jaime Jansen

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Thursday that the United Nations does not have the authority to compel Serbia on the status of Kosovo, and that the two parties need to reach a negotiated agreement on the territory. Churkin reportedly told the UN Security Council that he does not think the "international community has legal, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Mexican leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who officially lost the July 2 presidential election by .6 percent of the vote, on Thursday presented new evidence for his claims of extensive fraud, showing reporters television ads by several consumer product companies allegedly containing subliminal messages supporting the campaign of election winner Felipe Calderon [Wikipedia …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday expressed skepticism at the idea of allowing television cameras into Supreme Court proceedings, saying that the justices are concerned that cameras could have an "adverse impact" on the Court's functioning. Roberts reminded advocates of televised Supreme Court sessions that the purpose of oral arguments is to educate the …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Senate approved an amendment to a Homeland Security Appropriations Act 2007 Thursday that would prohibit the confiscation of legally owned guns during emergencies by a margin of 84-16. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) proposed the amendment in response to Hurricane Katrina. During …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The highest-ranking lawyers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines weighed in on how terror detainees should be judged during a Thursday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the impact of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The military lawyers pressed for an approach informed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which provides greater legal protections …

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by Jaime Jansen

Sarajevo's Canton Court sentenced former Bosnian Army soldier Samir Bejtic to 14 1/2 years in prison Thursday for killing Bosnian Serbs in 1993 during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. A member of the Sarajevo-based Tenth Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian army led by Bosnian Muslim Musan Topalovic, Bejtic was convicted of participating in the …

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by Jaime Jansen

Saudi Arabia would like to have all of its nationals held at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay returned to Saudi custody within one year, Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Turki Al-Faisal said Thursday. Approximately 95 of the over 400 Guantanamo detainees are from Saudi Arabia, including two men …

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by Jaime Jansen

Efrain Rios Montt, a former Guatemalan dictator, has called Spanish National Court Judge Santiago Pedraz's order for Montt's arrest last week unfounded, insisting that he did not know of any crimes against humanity committed by his military officials during Guatemala's brutal 36-year civil war [Globalsecurity.org backgrounder]. During a news conference Wednesday, Montt added that the …

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by Jaime Jansen

A New Jersey state jury in Atlantic City found Merck not liable Thursday for a woman's heart attack, saying that Merck adequately warned doctors of the health risks from the company's painkiller Vioxx. In what was the seventh Vioxx trial to reach a verdict, the jury …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

JURIST is back online after a major power failure in central Pittsburgh [Post-Gazette report] early Thursday knocked out power to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and surrounding campus buildings. JURIST's staff dispersed to remote locations during the downtime, researching and reporting the day's national and international legal news as usual, although publication of stories to the website …

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