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Legal news from Friday, February 2, 2007
by Gabriel Haboubi

US Defense Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs Charles "Cully" Stimson resigned Friday in the aftermath of a backlash to remarks he made in a radio interview last month criticizing lawyers at top US law firms for representing Guantanamo detainees pro bono. A Defense Department spokesman said Stimson was not asked …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A federal judge ruled Friday that the US Army Corps of Engineers can be sued by victims of Hurricane Katrina flood damage who allege the Corps ignored warnings that the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO) contained defects that exacerbated the flooding. In his opinion denying the Corps' motion to dismiss, Judge …

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by JURIST Staff

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour on Friday criticized the amnesty resolution adopted by the lower house of the Afghan parliament Thursday. The resolution, part of a national reconciliation effort, extends official pardons to warlords and alleged war criminals. It stands in stark contrast to the Action Plan on …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that he intends to ask the Government Accountability Office to look into why Canadian citizen Maher Arar remains on the US terror watch list. Leahy and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), former committee chairman …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman also prohibits Michigan public employers from offering benefits, such as health insurance, to same-sex partners of homosexual employees. The appeals court overturned a lower court decision finding …

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by Lisl Brunner

The United Nations Friday released a plan for Kosovo to govern itself as a multi-ethnic society that it says safeguards the rights of all groups within its territory. An executive summary of the plan was issued to Serbian and Albanian leaders by Special Envoy for the Future Status Process Marrti Ahtisaari and will be …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Australian Minister of Justice Chris Ellison Friday offered the Australian government's strongest criticism yet of the US government's 5-year detention without charge of Australian citizen David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay, calling it "totally inappropriate" and urging that a trial be held quickly. Ellison has not, however, endorsed a letter signed by …

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by Lisl Brunner

Judicial reform in China should be managed by the Chinese Communist Party rather than by reformers and non-governmental organizations, according to an article published Thursday by China's top law enforcement official. Luo Gan, a member of the ruling Politburo Standing Committee, wrote the article in the party's Qiushi (Seeking Truth) Journal, …

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by Lisl Brunner

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral arguments Thursday regarding the government's power to designate "enemy combatants" and subject them to military detention without charge. The case centers on Ali al-Marri, an Illinois student who has been detained since December 2001. A year and a half after al-Marri's arrest, …

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by Michael Sung

The War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has indicted former Bosnian Muslim military commander Sefik Alic for acting contrary to Article 3(1)(a) of the Third Geneva Conventions by subjecting prisoners to inhuman treatment and depriving them of their life. Alic allegedly took custody of …

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by Michael Sung

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen issued an executive order Thursday, directing the Tennessee Commissioner of Corrections to conduct a "comprehensive review of the manner in which death sentences are administered... and provide new protocols and related written procedures in administering death sentences in Tennessee" no later than May 2, 2007. Executive Order …

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by Michael Sung

The Bulgarian National Assembly on Friday adopted amendments to its constitution in an effort to increase the efficiency and transparency of the country's judiciary. The amendments, required for entry to the European Union, were passed on their third reading, 192-28, with six members abstaining. Under the new changes, …

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by Joe Shaulis

Montana filed a lawsuit Thursday against Wyoming in the US Supreme Court for allegedly violating a 1950 agreement allocating water rights to two tributaries of the Yellowstone River. In a motion, complaint and brief, Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath asserted that Wyoming had breached the Yellowstone River …

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