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International brief ~ HRW urges UN sanctions on Sudan officials over civilian attacks

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has said that the Sudanese government [official website in Arabic] has entered a prolonged campaign of randomly bombing civilian locations [press release] in the Darfur region [JURIST news archive] and asked the UN Security Council [official website] to initiate sanctions against key Sudanese government officials. Under Resolution 1591 [text, PDF], any entity or individual authorizing or practicing indiscriminate bombing of civilian locations in Darfur is subject to international sanctions. HRW called on the UN to activate these sanctions against Sudanese officials in control of military forces in Darfur. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • Leading AIDS activist Hu Jia was taken from his home in Beijing by police officials who refused to show a police summons authorizing Hu's detention. Beijing police officials have refused to answer calls directed to the local police station in question. Hu is one of China's leading human rights campaigners and has spent the last month under house arrest for protests carried out against China's One Child Policy [government backgrounder]. Hu alleged that earlier this year he was held for nearly a month without cause or arrest in order to keep him from organizing protests and warned that he was seeking advice on suing the Chinese government [official website] for unlawful detention. The International Herald Tribune has more.

  • Eddie Makue, the head of the South African Council of Churches [official website] has released a copy of a private letter, which he sent to key parliamentary officials in South Africa, that calls for the South African government [official website] to create a single, unified code for handling the country's marriage system. The South African Constitutional Court [judicial website] ruled in a 2005 decision [judgment, PDF; summary] that the current definition of marriage was unconstitutional and gave the government until December 2006 to provide a new definition [JURIST report]. The current administration proposed a dual system of legislation for handling marriage and domestic and civil partnerships. Makue warned that separate systems of law have proven repeatedly to never be equal and that the government should focus simply on complying with the constitution and allowing individuals and religious faiths the freedom to exercise their faith as they wished. Makue also argued that the best way to keep legal treatment of individuals in South Africa equal would be to simply amend the Marriage Act [PDF text], rather than create a new legal system for a different "class" of people. South Africa's Mail & Guardian Online has local coverage.

  • Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono has said that, despite continued pressure from the Indonesian Parliament (MPR) [official website in Bahasa Indonesian] and the final approval of an amendment to the Indonesian Military Law, the structure for trying military personnel of all ranks in civilian courts, rather than military, would not be ready to implement within the two year time limit placed by the MPR. The law's amendment was a response to public perception that military tribunals were whitewash affairs for officers and enlisted personnel accused of misconduct and crimes against civilians. Under the amendment, any military person charged with crimes against an Indonesian civilian will be tried in civilian courts. Sudarsono argued that, while the government [official website in Bahasa Indonesian] was committed to the amendment, the criminal justice system in Indonesia was not prepared for the introduction of these trials and that the nation's Criminal Code has no provisions in place for implementing such trials, implying that the Criminal Code would need to be amended as well before the amendment could take effect. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.

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