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Legal news from Tuesday, November 21, 2006
by Caitlin Price

The UN Security Council Tuesday approved a proposal for an international tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. In a letter from the 15-person body to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Security Council accepted the terms of the tribunal as agreed upon by …

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by Caitlin Price

US Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. was sentenced to a maximum 21-month confinement Tuesday after pleading guilty at court-martial to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the alleged murder and kidnapping of an unarmed Iraqi civilian in Hamdania on April 26. More serious murder and kidnapping …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Audio recordings of proceedings from several US Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) hearings conducted at Guantanamo Bay in 2004 were made public for the first time Tuesday by National Public Radio after being released to lawyers for two Guantanamo detainees acting under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The detainees, Hadj Boudella …

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by Katerina Ossenova

US UN Ambassador John Bolton has urged quick agreement on the creation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in the aftermath of Tuesday's assassination of anti-Syrian Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, who was gunned down in his …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist rebel leader Prachanda signed a peace agreement Tuesday formally ending the decade-long Maoist guerilla insurgency against the government that left over 13,000 people dead. The deal clears the way for Maoists to serve in the country's interim parliament and in the new interim government …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinhasa was set on fire Tuesday by protestors supporting Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, who on Saturday filed a challenge to the results of last month's presidential run-off election, which he officially lost to incumbent Joseph Kabila …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A Fiji High Court judge Tuesday declared a mistrial in the case against former Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, charged with inciting a military mutiny. Although High Court Justice Gerard Winter did not disclose his reason for declaring a mistrial, local media speculated that the prosecution had failed to fully disclose evidence.The military mutiny charges …

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by Brett Murphy

The tax fraud trial of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and British lawyer David Mills was adjourned Tuesday after the defense applied to have one of the judges taken off the case. Judge Edoardo d'Avossa was involved in other Berlusconi trials, including the "Medusa" case, which resulted in the former prime …

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by Brett Murphy

A judge in the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court on Monday urged prosecutors to either charge hospital workers accused of killing four patients in the wake of Hurricane Katrina or drop the case. Judge Calvin Johnson said he is concerned that no formal indictment has been brought against the workers and said that the …

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by Brett Murphy

The Supreme Court of Israel ruled 6-1 Tuesday that same-sex marriages ordained abroad must be recognized by the state. The ruling does not allow for same-sex civil marriages to occur in Israel but mandates that the government recognize the unions if performed in other nations. While gay rights activists are …

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by Brett Murphy

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that the 1996 Communications Decency Act [PDF text - see Title V] protects online users, including bloggers, who republish defamatory statements written by others from liability. Citing First Amendment concerns, the court said in its opinion that plaintiffs claiming defamation can bring suit only against the "original source of …

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by Lisl Brunner

Israel's use of force during its 33-day standoff with Hezbollah in Lebanon was "excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate" in "flagrant violation" of international law, according to a report issued Tuesday by the UN Human Rights Council. The report is the product of a commission of inquiry sent to the Middle East to investigate …

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by Lisl Brunner

A draft UN General Assembly resolution condemning human rights violations in Uzbekistan has been blocked in the General Assembly's Third Committee by a group of mainly developing nations that claim such resolutions are politically motivated. The resolution would have expressed "grave concern" at Uzbekistan's use of force to quell a …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington, one of several US Marines facing court-martial in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania, told a military court Monday that agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service told him not to ask for a defense lawyer and threatened him with the …

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by Lisl Brunner

The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Monday that the National Security Agency (NSA) can withhold documents and information relating to its Terrorist Surveillance Program requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the People …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A US judge sentenced Bosnian immigrant Marko Boskic to 63 months in prison Monday for failing to reveal his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre while trying to enter the US as a refugee. Boskic was charged in August 2004 with five counts of making false declarations on US immigration applications and …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Former US Attorney General Janet Reno joined seven other former US Justice Department officials Monday in opposing an interpretation of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) that would deny suspected terrorists held in the US access to the civilian court system. The former prosecutors filed an amicus brief with …

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by Holly Manges Jones

French anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere has recommended that Rwandan President Paul Kagame stand trial for the 1994 killing of former president Juvenal Habyarimana, which sparked the country's genocide in which some 800,000 people died. Kagame has denied any involvement in shooting down the plane that carried Habyarimana, …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Losing leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador held a ceremony Monday to establish himself as the "moral" president of Mexico in his latest attempt to develop a parallel government for the country. The defeated candidate is hoping to maintain the support of Mexico's poor by proposing tax reforms for the …

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