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Legal news from Wednesday, May 16, 2007
by Caitlin Price

Suspended Romanian President Traian Basescu Wednesday continued to speak out against political corruption while facing a Saturday impeachment referendum. Basescu was suspended by the opposition-dominated parliament in April for allegedly abusing his powers; earlier this month, the nation's Constitutional Court upheld an opposition-sponsored bill making it easier to remove …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

US mining executive Richard Ness, the regional chief executive of Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation, filed a civil lawsuit against the New York Times (NYT) in Indonesia Wednesday. Last month Ness and Newmont were acquitted by an Indonesian court of criminal pollution charges that the now-closed …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) called for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Wednesday, a day after hearing testimony from former US Deputy Attorney General James Comey regarding an attempt by Gonzales to persuade former Attorney General John Ashcroft to reauthorize the warrantless domestic surveillance program …

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by Michael Sung

Fifteen activists involved in a prayer vigil calling for the release of Myanmar Nobel laureate and political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi were arrested Wednesday and released later in the day by the military government of Myanmar. The activists joined a group of 31 others who were arrested Tuesday for …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A senior official in a Rwanda human rights organization was arrested Wednesday in the capital of Kigali after being implicated by a local gacaca court in the 1994 genocide. The official, Francois-Xavier Byuma, is vice president of the board of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LIPRODHOR) [advocacy website, …

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by Caitlin Price

Members of the Ukranian Parliament have requested that the Ukrainian Constitutional Court rule on the legality of President Viktor Yushchenko's dismissal of three judges from its bench, according to the court's information office Tuesday. The request came after last Friday's dismissal of Volodymyr Ivashchenko, the third Constitutional Court judge removed for alleged oath and ethics …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A US district judge gave the State of Tennessee permission Wednesday to perform an autopsy on executed Seventh Day Adventist Philip Workman, despite Workman's pre-execution objections to the procedure on the grounds that it would conflict with his religious beliefs. Chief District Judge Todd Campbell of the US Middle District of Tennessee found …

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by Michael Sung

Judge Thomas E. Connolly of the Massachusetts Suffolk County Superior Court has ruled that the marriages of more than 170 same-sex couples from New York who married in Massachusetts before the New York Court of Appeals upheld a ban on New York same-sex marriage on July 6, 2006, are valid because a 1913 Massachusetts statute …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, one of Pakistan's most renowned lawyers, presented the government's case against ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Wednesday to a panel of Supreme Court judges. Dismissing Chaudhry's claims that his March 9 suspension order was illegal and that Pakistan's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) …

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by Brett Murphy

US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad said Tuesday that the US will submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to establish a tribunal under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. According to Khalilzad, the US decided …

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by Michael Sung

A panel of three judges on the London Court of Appeal Criminal Division reduced the sentence of convicted bomb plotter Dhiren Barot from a minimum of 40 years to life to 30 years to life Wednesday because Barot's conspiracy did not amount to an actual attempt and it was unclear whether the plot was viable. Barot pleaded …

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by Michael Sung

Nine defendants in the 2004 Madrid train bombings trial indicated in court Wednesday that they have begun a hunger strike, joining four other defendants who initiated the hunger strike last Thursday. The thirteen defendants are among eighteen who remain in custody during the trial, while eleven other defendants have been released on bail. Judge Javier Gomez …

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by Michael Sung

Fifty-six former Harvard Law School classmates of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have signed an open letter published Tuesday, rebuking Gonzales for his "failure to stand for the rule of law" and failure at doing "the tough job of providing independent counsel" and urging Gonzales "to restore respect for the rule of law." The …

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by D. Wes Rist

Jonathan Samkange, senior lawyer for the legal team defending Simon Mann in his extradition proceedings, was released by Harare police in Zimbabwe Wednesday after being arrested Monday night for alleged violations of Zimbabwe's Immigration Act. Following applications by fellow lawyers seeking to have charges against Samkange clarified, Harare magistrate Lazarus Murendo ordered the …

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by Brett Murphy

A crisis meeting of top British judges Tuesday called for constitutional protections in the face of the British government's creation of a new Ministry of Justice. Members of the Judge's Council and judges on the UK executive judicial board agreed to press their case with new UK Secretary of State for Justice Lord Falconer of …

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by D. Wes Rist

A High Court in Kenya has denied government objections to a civil lawsuit brought by family members of the 365 confirmed victims of the 1984 Wagalla Massacre by Kenyan security forces. The Kenyan government had filed a motion seeking to dismiss the civil suit on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to initiate …

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by Brett Murphy

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger submitted a capital punishment proposal Tuesday in an effort to persuade US District Judge Jeremy Fogel to lift a moratorium on executions in the state. The proposal includes the construction of a new execution chamber and a revised protocol on the procedure for lethal injections in …

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by Michael Sung

Legislation proposed Wednesday by the European Commission will seek to decrease incentives for employers to hire illegal immigrants, threatening fines, closing of businesses, and possibly jail time for those that partake in human trafficking or repeatedly employ illegal immigrants. The proposals, if approved, will heighten enforcement and bar employers caught …

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by Brett Murphy

US Marine Capt. Randy Stone testified Tuesday that he did not launch an investigation into the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha because he believed that the killings occurred within the bounds of lawful combat. During Stone's Article 32 hearing, he also said that he never lied about his response to …

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by Michael Sung

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) announced Wednesday that the UN-supported Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal will meet for two weeks beginning May 31 to resolve remaining disputes between Cambodian and international judges concerning the internal regulations of the tribunal. Co-investigating judge Marcel Lemonde told AFP that "once the internal rules are adopted, the judicial …

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by Michael Sung

Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged Tuesday the existence of an illegal police wiretapping program that had targeted journalists, members of the opposition and government, but insisted that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and his administration were unaware of the program and did not utilize transcripts created by the …

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