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Legal news from Thursday, July 12, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

The US House Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to defeat two independent bids by lawmakers that would have repealed part or all of the "Tiahrt Amendment", which since 2003 has restricted the public release of information provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regarding gun sales. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) …

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by Leslie Schulman

The latest proposal for a UN-supervised independence plan for Kosovo has been rejected by the Russian government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday. The US, France and the UK offered the revision to a June draft resolution in an attempt to compromise with Russia and Serbia, which oppose independence. …

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by Leslie Schulman

Former Chadian president Hissene Habre, who has been charged with crimes against humanity, will stand trial before a Senegalese criminal court, rather than before a special tribunal as previously decided, Senegal's Justice Minister Sheik Tidiane Sy said Thursday. At an assembly last year, leaders of the African Union decided that Habre would …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A panel of the US House Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to move forward with contempt proceedings against former White House counsel Harriet Miers after she ignored a subpoena ordering her to appear and testify at a hearing regarding the firings of federal prosecutors. The Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law [official …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A series of interviews with US veterans of the Iraq war shows a pattern of systematic human rights abuses, according to a new report in The Nation. The magazine calls the investigation, which yielded thousands of pages of typed testimony, "the first time so many on-the-record, named eyewitnesses from within the US military" have openly corroborated …

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by Michael Sung

UN International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) head Serge Brammertz said in a report to the UN Security Council Thursday that the probe into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has identified several suspects involved or with insider knowledge of the plot. Brammertz also said that the investigation has …

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by Michael Sung

Jonathan 'Jack' Idema, an American civilian convicted of illegal imprisonment and torture as a rogue vigilante in Afghanistan in 2004, filed a lawsuit against the Associated Press Thursday, alleging that AP defamed, libeled, and slandered him. He also alleged that AP distributed photographs and video provided by Idema or his lawyers without …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary said Wednesday that 20 sex offenders and violent criminals will be executed by hanging over the next few days. Among the condemned are at least 15 arrested in May during a crackdown on "public morals". Some were arrested for homosexual conduct or alcohol consumption. Although judiciary spokesman Alireza …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The Iraqi government has shown sufficient progress in its efforts to develop a constitutional review process, but is not making satisfactory progress in passing laws on the distribution of oil revenues and de-Baathification reform, according to the Initial Benchmark Assessment Report sent to Congress Thursday by the White House. The report was issued pursuant to the US Troop …

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by Michael Sung

A Moscow court Thursday initiated preliminary hearings for exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky who is accused of embezzling millions from Russian national airline Aeroflot, granting Berezovsky's court-appointed lawyer a two-week postponement of further proceedings so that the defense can prepare for the case. Berezovsky, who has been residing in the UK since …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

US Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and a bipartisan group of cosponsors Wednesday proposed a new piece of anti-pollution legislation that is supported by some of the country's largest coal-burning companies and their labor unions. Informally called the Low Carbon Economy Act, the bill aims to reduce …

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by Michael Sung

EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini rejected targeted assassinations of terror suspects in an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland Thursday, adding that he is personally against all forms of the death penalty. Frattini, responding to controversial comments made by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble during an interview [text, in …

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by Michael Sung

Ghazi al-Awadi, an Iraqi-born naturalized US citizen, pleaded guilty to spying for the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein Wednesday, admitting in Detroit federal court that he provided the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) with information about anti-Hussein organizations and individuals. Under the plea agreement, Al-Awadi, who is 78 years old and in poor health, will …

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by Michael Sung

The Sudanese government defended its handling of military and police personnel allegedly involved in human rights abuses in Darfur before the UN Human Rights Committee Wednesday, denying allegations that the government was collaborating with armed militias that have committed some of the worst atrocities against civilians while insisting that the Sudanese judiciary is capable …

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by Michael Sung

Amnesty International Thursday condemned Israel and Hezbollah for failing to investigate alleged war crimes and humanitarian law violations during the summer 2006 Lebanon conflict, calling upon the United Nations to establish a "comprehensive, impartial, and independent inquiry" to investigate the alleged violations and setup provisions to compensate the victims. Amnesty criticized Hezbollah …

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by Michael Sung

An investigating officer in the probe of 24 Iraqi civilian deaths at Haditha in November 2005 has recommended that Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, should face a court-martial for dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order, according to a …

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by Michael Sung

The French National Assembly Thursday approved an overtime reform measure championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, which if enacted as law, would make overtime pay tax-free and reduce payroll fees for employers. The measure, which supporters say will encourage growth with additional work, would weaken the absolute 35-hour workweek adopted in 2000 under the …

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by Michael Sung

South Dakota held its first execution in 60 years Wednesday, putting to death 25-year-old Elijah Page. Page was executed under new lethal injection protocols passed in February to ensure that prison wardens have the legal authority to use a three-drug combination instead of a two-drug mixture. South Dakota's 1984 state lethal injection law specified a …

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