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Legal news from Wednesday, February 14, 2007
20:02 EDT

[JURIST] UK Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer [official profile] on Wednesday backed a proposal to allow police officers to question terror suspects after they have been formally charged. Following a speech [text] defending the UK Human Rights Act [text; backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Falconer implied in response to questions that the [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Ecuador Congress [official government website] voted Tuesday to hold a referendum on whether Ecuador should form a constitutional assembly to rewrite its constitution [text, in Spanish]. The vote is seen as a victory for the reform agenda of President Rafael Correa [official website, in Spanish; BBC profile], who [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] Switzerland is launching a criminal probe into the alleged unlawful use of Swiss airspace by US agents in anti-terrorist operations after authorization Wednesday by the Swiss Federal Council [official website], which said in a statement that there was evidence that "basic norms of international law were violated." The investigation [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] President Bush on Wednesday issued an executive order [text] establishing military commissions [JURIST news archive] for enemy combatants held by the US. According to White House officials, the order is required under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [JURIST news archive] to proceed with trials for terror suspects [read more]

18:02 EDT

[JURIST] Former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo [Wikipedia profile] and defense contractor Brent Wilkes [Newsweek profile] both pleaded not guilty Wednesday to corruption charges connected with the case of former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham [official profile]. Both Foggo and Wilkes, who were indicted by a grand jury [JURIST report] [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] A UN Human Rights Council [official website] investigatory team Wednesday cancelled a scheduled trip to the Darfur region [JURIST news archive] of Sudan after Sudanese officials again refused to grant a visa to a team member. The UN refused to replace Bertrand Ramcharan [official profile; JURIST news archive], a [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] The UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) [official website] confirmed Tuesday that it had begun an investigation into whether UK firms paid illegal kickbacks to the Saddam Hussein regime in the now-defunct UN Oil-for-Food program [JURIST news archive], through which Hussein allegedly embezzled as much as $1.8 billion. According to [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] A French magistrate judge has issued a second summons to Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh [IRIN backgrounder] requesting testimony for an investigation into the May 1995 death of a French judge in Djibouti. Djibouti officials maintain that the death of Bernard Borrel [advocacy website, in French], who advised the [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] Wednesday announced an expanded program to allow 7,000 Iraqi refugees to resettle in the US. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres [official profiles] to discuss the plan, which will fast-track refugee applications from Iraqis who [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] The trial of Saddam-era Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] was flawed and he should not be executed, a UN Human Rights expert said [press release] Wednesday. Phillip Alston [official profile], appointed [UN press release] as UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] A senior Chinese official said Tuesday that the government plans to establish a "National Corruption Prevention Bureau" to ensure China's compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption [UN materials], which China signed in 2005. The proposed bureau is another step forward in China's fight against widespread corruption, following a [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Belgian government was complicit in Nazi persecution of the Jewish population during the Holocaust and the country's courts failed to hold Belgian authorities accountable for persecuting and deporting Jews after World War II, according to a government-supported report that was presented to the Belgian parliament on Tuesday. According [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy testified [transcript] before the appropriations subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] on Wednesday on the topic of judicial pay, saying that low pay relative to private-sector jobs threatens the independence and integrity of the federal judiciary. While members of the Supreme [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] A British judge announced Wednesday that he has dropped charges against five British soldiers accused of abusing Iraqi detainees in Basra, while continuing charges against two British co-defendants in their ongoing court-martial. The ruling was issued [JURIST report] Tuesday, but was kept secret until Justice Stuart McKinnon read it [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] The European Parliament voted 382-256 Wednesday to approve [press release] a report condemning member states for cooperating with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in operating illegal secret prisons and extraordinary rendition flights [JURIST news archives] in Europe. Seventy-four MEPs abstained from the vote. The report condemns the European [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) [official website] on Tuesday introduced in the Senate the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 [S 576 summary], legislation that would restore habeas corpus rights to all US-held detainees, ban the use of evidence gained by torture or coercion, and redefine "enemy combatant" in [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] US military branches continue to accept a greater number of recruits with criminal records, granting recruiting waivers [USAREC Regulation 601-56 text, PDF], according to data compiled by the US Defense Department. The Army accepted over twice as many recruits with criminal records in 2006 than it did in 2003, [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] Argentina has made a formal request that Spain [JURIST news archive] extradite former Argentine President Isabel Peron [Wikipedia profile], officials from the Argentinean Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The request was made in connection to Federal Judge Raul Acosta's investigation into Peron's alleged involvement in the disappearance of political opponent [read more]

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