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Legal news from Tuesday, November 28, 2006
by Bernard Hibbitts

The Virginia Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Virginia state courts had a constitutional obligation to defer to the rulings of Vermont courts in a child custody dispute involving two lesbian partners who had entered into a Vermont civil union. Lisa and Janet Miller-Jenkins lived in Virginia but traveled to Vermont to be joined in …

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by Ned Mulcahy

In a Tuesday ruling, Judge James Robertson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia declared that "the Treasury Department’s failure to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired individuals violates section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act." Section 504 provides that no disabled person …

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by Robert DeVries

Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has had to put its operations on hold due to lack of funds, according to its acting chairman. The TRC is charged with investigating and documenting crimes that occurred during Liberia's 14- year civil war [Globalsecurity.org backgrounder]. Despite urgings from the UN to accelerate its operations, …

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by Lisl Brunner

Saddam Hussein sought to bar testimony of an American forensic scientist during proceedings at his genocide trial Tuesday, demanding a neutral witness from a country that was not involved in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The chief judge allowed the expert, Clyde Snow, to testify about a mass grave he encountered in the northern Iraqi …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court urged the court Tuesday to confirm war crimes charges against Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga. Lubanga, founder of the militant Union of Patriotic Congolese, could be the first war crimes suspect to be tried by the ICC since it opened …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Many European countries were aware that the US Central Intelligence Agency operated secret prisons or used their territory for the transfer of terror suspects, according to a report released Tuesday by a European Parliament committee investigating the CIA's alleged use of European countries for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners. The …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 04-1350, a case involving a fight over a patent on adjustable pedal assemblies for engines. At issue is what constitutes a patent claim that is "obvious" under 35 USC 103(a). …

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by Brett Murphy

The National Education Association (NEA) joined three school districts on Tuesday in appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit that challenged the funding of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) [PDF text; executive summary; US Dept. Ed. factsheet]. In an appeal filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the NEA and …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A three-judge panel of the UK Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri to overturn his conviction on incitement-to-murder charges. In February, Hamza was convicted of 11 counts for urging his followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims and using "threatening, …

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by Lisl Brunner

A motion recognizing the people of Quebec as a "nation" within Canada passed the Canadian House of Commons Monday by a vote of 266-16. The motion, introduced last week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, represents a compromise on an earlier proposal by the Bloc Quebecois that would have defined the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Australian state and territory attorneys general demanded action Tuesday in the case of David Hicks, an Australian detainee held at Guantanamo Bay since 2002. Upset that the US has failed to charge Hicks under revised military commission rules, the AGs sent Australian Attorney General Phillip Ruddock, their federal counterpart, a photo …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Tuesday reduced the sentence of local Bosnian Serb politician Blagoje Simic from 17 to 15 years, after reversing one of his convictions. Simic was convicted on charges of crimes against humanity in 2003, along with Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric, …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Thai cabinet Tuesday approved a measure to lift martial law in 41 of the country's 76 provinces, including Bangkok, despite a recommendation by coup leader and Army Commander-in-Chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin Monday to retain martial law in the capital city. Thailand has been under a state of martial law since the Thai military …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A group of United Nations human rights experts on Tuesday urged the Iraqi government to refrain from carrying out the death sentence imposed on Saddam Hussein earlier this month for crimes against humanity committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail. In a statement from …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Two Russian prosecutors were convicted Monday of accepting a $10,000 bribe from a construction company in the country's latest example of corruption in the court and police systems. Sergei Kocherov and Ruslan Fedosenko of the district prosecutor's office in Moscow were sentenced to four years in a maximum security prison, while lawyers for the two said they plan to …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A North Carolina state court judge Monday ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the families of four US contractors killed in Iraq against Blackwater Security Consulting could move forward after being stayed for nearly two years. The company has argued that the case should be litigated in federal court, but the US District Court hearing …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Lebanese cabinet on Monday sent a draft measure concerning the creation of a UN-supported international tribunal to try suspects accused of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to Lebanese President Emile Lahoud for his approval. Lahoud is not expected to back the accord, having labeled the cabinet's weekend vote on the …

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