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Legal news from Thursday, November 23, 2006
by Bernard Hibbitts

The South African Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that same-sex partners in a permanent relationship have the same inheritance rights as married heterosexual couples, and that a surviving partner could therefore take by intestacy as a deceased partner's heir. It declared that existing South African succession law was unconstitutional and should be amended …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Thursday that the tribunal could start its first formal trial in 2007 if judges confirmed charges against Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga, and was almost ready to file charges relating to alleged crimes against …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

The European Commission announced Thursday that Microsoft had filed new technical documentation with it in a last-minute bid to comply with a March 2004 Commission antitrust ruling ordering it to disclose information allowing non-Microsoft servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers. The Commission …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Some 25,000 Rwandans gathered in a sports stadium in the capital Kigale Thursday to protest a French judge's issuance of arrest warrants for nine top Rwandan officials on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 downing of the plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyariman, whose death triggered a genocide that killed over 800,000 people. The protestors sang anti-French songs …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Canadian Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined with Ontario Liberal Party Premier Dalton McGinty and Toronto Mayor David Mills Thursday to lay out the terms of proposed federal gun crime legislation being introduced in the Canadian House of Commons that would put the burden on serious gun crimes suspects seeking bail but …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Pakistan's Senate Thursday approved a reformed rape law that allows rape cases to be tried in either secular or Islamic courts, reduces the evidentiary burden necessary for conviction, and substitutes a fine and five-year prison term for persons found guilty of having sex outside of marriage. The Protection of Women Bill is expected to replace the Hudood …

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by Jaime Jansen

The European Commission's Article 29 Data Protection Working Party reported Thursday that the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) violated European privacy laws when it released information about cross-border wire transfers by European citizens to the US government. The draft report had been delayed while the European panel performed further investigations …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state's use of a three-drug lethal injection does not violate the constitution because the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment "does not require a complete absence of pain." The unanimous decision upholds a lower court ruling last year which held that conflicting medical testimony prevents the …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

The UN Security Council Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a request from Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora for the UN commission probing the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri to also investigate Tuesday's murder of anti-Syrian Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. US UN Ambassador John Bolton urged the UN International …

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by Jaime Jansen

The UN General Assembly's Third Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs approved draft resolutions Wednesday denouncing both Belarus and Myanmar (formerly Burma) for human rights violations. The Belarus resolution, introduced by the United States and passed by a vote of 70 to 31 with 67 abstentions, blames the Belarus government for …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Hunger-striking Serbian war crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj refused to attend a preliminary hearing Wednesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, saying his voice was too weak to be able to participate. Seselj went on hunger strike early last week demanding that the ICTY dismiss his …

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