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Legal news from Friday, January 26, 2007
by Bernard Hibbitts

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston South Carolina has agreed to set aside $12 million to compensate victims and relatives of victims of clergy sex abuse going back before 1980, according to a statement released by the diocese Friday. A judge has initially approved the terms of the settlement. No mention …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Spain Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos argued for an expanded European constitution in his opening statement at the “Friends of the EU Constitution” summit that got under way in Madrid Friday. The summit is only open to delegates from the 18 …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally apologized to Maher Arar on behalf of the Canadian government Friday for its role in the US deportation of Arar to Syria in 2002 and announced a settlement with Arar of $10.5 million (CAD) compensation for pain and suffering, …

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by JURIST Staff

Guantanamo defense lawyer and Reprieve senior counsel Zachary Katznelson told Reuters in an interview published Friday that since December at least 160 Guantanamo Bay detainees have been moved to solitary confinement in the new part of the facility called "Camp 6" [GlobalSecurity.org Camp Delta profile; JURIST report], and claimed the relocation was …

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by JURIST Staff

EU Freedom, Security and Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini urged the 27 EU nations on Friday to adopt EU-wide laws criminalizing denial of the Holocaust and incitement of hatred and racial violence. Frattini's remarks come the day before Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The UN Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) has delayed the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor until June 4, giving Taylor’s lawyers more time to prepare their defense. While the defense had asked the court to push the start of the trial to September, and the prosecution had noted that …

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by Lisl Brunner

British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened Friday in a renewed furor over criminal sentencing that broke out after a judge cited the Home Secretary's recent urgings to keep non-dangerous offenders out of overcrowded prisons [BBC backgrounder; Guardian Q&A] in suspending the sentence of a man who pleaded guilty to downloading child pornography. The suspended sentence …

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by Lisl Brunner

Rwanda plans to release 8,000 prisoners implicated in the country's 1994 genocide, despite warnings from human rights groups that their liberation could produce violence against genocide survivors. Chief prosecutor Martin Ngoga told Reuters that the releases will "exclude key masterminds of the genocide" and that those released will undergo a month-long program …

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by Lisl Brunner

The new constitution of Thailand will be finalized and ready to face a referendum by July 6, according to an announcement Friday from the Constitutional Drafting Committee. The 35-member committee began work on the document on Friday and project that a first draft will be complete by April 15. A final draft will be sent to …

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by Tatyana Margolin

North Korea accused South Korea of Internet censorship Friday, saying that preventing the South Korean public from accessing pro-North Korea websites violates their citizens' basic human rights and freedom to access information. Since 2004, South Korea has blocked more than 30 such websites, including the website of North Korea's official news agency, KCNA …

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by Michael Sung

The UK House of Commons passed the Fraud (Trials Without a Jury) Bill 281-246 on its third reading Thursday, sending the bill to the House of Lords. The proposed bill will allow defendants in serious and complex fraud cases to be tried before a single High Court judge, subject to the approval …

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by Michael Sung

Both the Maine House of Representatives and Senate approved a joint resolution Thursday refusing to implement the federal Real ID Act. The resolution had broad support across both parties, with the House of Representatives approving the resolution 137-4 and the Senate 34-0. The federal act, scheduled to take effect …

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by Michael Sung

The US Department of Justice asked the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Thursday to drop the DOJ's appeal of a lower court ruling declaring the NSA domestic surveillance program unconstitutional. The Justice Department argued that the lawsuit is moot because …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Some non-Cambodian judges involved in the multinational Khmer Rouge genocide trials may resign because of a protracted dispute over procedural rules among the various jurists overseeing the upcoming tribunal, the International Herald Tribune reported Thursday. Tribunal judges convened in November to establish court rules for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) …

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