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Legal news from Wednesday, May 23, 2007
by Melissa Bancroft

The government of Burundi and the United Nations (UN) agreed Wednesday to establish a tribunal to try those accused of war crimes during the nation's 12-year civil war, according to the UN. Burundi has also agreed to create a truth and reconciliation commission. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official …

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by Melissa Bancroft

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine limited the president's power to appoint and dismiss members of local judiciaries on Wednesday. The ruling affirmed that of the country's High Justice Council. In Ukraine, local judges and their deputies are first appointed by the Ukrainian Supreme Court. The president then has the power to approve …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The US House of Representatives narrowly passed the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act Wednesday, approving heavy criminal penalties for oil companies and individuals who take "unfair advantage" or charge "unconscionably excessive" prices for fuel. House leaders used an expedited legislative process, so the bill required a two-thirds majority and passed by 284-141. …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi of the European Court of Justice upheld the rights of trade unions in two opinions Wednesday. In Laval v. Partneri (C-341/05), Mengozzi advised the court to allow trade unions to force companies from foreign EU member states to pay their workers the same that domestic workers would …

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by Brett Murphy

Milorad Ulemek, paramilitary commander under Slobodan Milosevic, was convicted with 11 others on Wednesday for the assassination of former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. The Special Court in Belgrade sentenced Ulemek to 40 years imprisonment, the maximum sentence allowed under Serbian law, finding that he organized the assassination. Zvezdan Jovanovic, was convicted …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Former US Department of Justice aide Monica Goodling testified before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday about the fired US Attorneys scandal, saying she did not play a key role in the firings but believed that previous Senate Judiciary Committee testimony by Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty …

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by Michael Sung

Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan condemned the United States and other "Western democratic states" Wednesday for what she characterized as attempts "to roll back some fundamental principles of human rights" in their efforts to fight terrorism. Khan's remarks came with the release of the Amnesty International Report 2007, which condemned the US for maintaining …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The Court of Appeals for England and Wales ruled Wednesday that provisions of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and upheld a 2005 lower court decision striking them down. The Act, designed to combat "sham marriages" entered into for immigration purposes …

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by Michael Sung

The Paris Court of Appeal Tuesday raised the sentences of nine Islamic militants convicted of "criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise" from nine years to the maximum of 10 years in prison. The nine were among 25 defendants convicted in June 2006 of plotting a terrorist attack foiled in December 2002 …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

The UK Court of Appeals Wednesday upheld a 2006 lower court ruling that a group of Indian Ocean islanders known as the Chagossians must be allowed to return to the group of islands comprising their homeland. In dismissing the British government's appeal, the court said that the government had negated "one …

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by Michael Sung

Ali Ahmed Kurd, a senior lawyer on the defense team for suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, accused Pakistani government lawyers Tuesday of "wasting the time of and the entire nation" by stalling judicial proceedings in his case. Kurd made the statement before the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official …

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by Brett Murphy

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Tuesday that the European Union should avoid any radical changes to the draft European Constitution, telling European Parliament members that a compromise on the treaty is not an adequate solution for Europe. Prodi told MEPs that Italy will likely not agree to any compromises, and instead proposed the …

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by Michael Sung

US federal agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General conducted a joint raid on a poultry processing plant owned by George's Processing Inc. in Butterfield, Missouri Tuesday, arresting more than 100 employees for immigration violations. Pete Baird, the agent in charge of the Kansas …

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by Brett Murphy

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales told a British parliamentary committee Tuesday that top judges were very concerned with the establishment of the new Ministry of Justice (MOJ) after they and the government failed to reach any agreement on resolution of constitutional problems surrounding the ministry's recent split from the Home …

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by Brett Murphy

Former Department of Justice aide Monica Goodling told the House Judiciary Committee in a letter Tuesday that she will not give up documents sought by the committee in compliance with a subpoena for e-mails and other papers relating to the firings of eight US attorneys. Goodling's lawyer said that she will …

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by Michael Sung

The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) has issued a report criticizing Japan's justice system on a wide range of issues at the conclusion of its 38th Session. The committee expressed concern that Japan needed to "reinforce the independence of judiciary," by ensuring the security of judges' tenure, which currently …

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by Brett Murphy

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), ranking member of the committee, have sent a letter to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asking him again to respond to questions about the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program and to disclose documents on the …

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by D. Wes Rist

The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to refer Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to the International Criminal Court for his role in Operation Murambatsvina, a coordinated effort to remove unlicensed sellers and non-zoned houses from the streets of …

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by D. Wes Rist

Businessman Schabir Shaik, a former business associate of former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, began his appeal hearing before the South African Constitutional Court Wednesday. Shaik's lawyers allege that Shaik's conviction for fraud and corruption was the result of an inherently unfair trial caused by Zuma's absence and "irregularities in prosecutorial …

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by Michael Sung

The US Senate voted Tuesday to keep plans to establish a temporary guest worker program in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. An amendment proposed by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) that sought to eliminate the temporary guest worker program failed 31-64. The proposed temporary …

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