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Legal news from Thursday, September 13, 2007
by Alexis Unkovic

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour Thursday called on state members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to open their records and allow the Council to adhere to its mandate to serve as an effective watchdog. The organization has been bogged down in debate since its inception …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The UN General Assembly Thursday adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a non-binding treaty outlining the global human rights of approximately 370 million indigenous people and bans discrimination against them. The General Assembly passed the measure with the support of an overwhelming majority of member states. Enactment …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Canadian chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand Thursday resisted calls by Canadian lawmakers to invoke his discretionary powers, reserved for exceptional circumstances, to require women to remove traditional Muslim niqabs or burqas when they vote in by-elections in the province of Quebec on Monday. Mayrand said in testimony before the House of Commons …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The US Department of Defense released censored audio recordings of the March 9 Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) hearing of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Thursday after months of controversy. The recording eliminated 10 of about 40 minutes of Mohammed's testimony in which he said he masterminded the 9/11 attacks …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Kenyan lawmakers have approved a bill limiting the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to investigating crimes committed after 2003. The amendment, deleting portions of the 2003 Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, will make it impossible for the commission to continue investigations into some of the country's most notorious corruption cases, involving millions of dollars in …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

A Russian court Thursday upheld a ruling that a new investigation into former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev was illegal. The Moscow City Court supported Moscow's Basmanny Court ban on an investigation in Chita into new charges against the former Yukos Oil executives, …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Authorities in the United Kingdom are endangering the privacy of law-abiding Britons by increasingly using mass surveillance to profile people rather than targeting individual criminal suspects using intelligence-led policing, UK rights group Liberty concluded in a report published Thursday. Liberty warned that data-mining in the National Identity Cards Database now allows the British …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Human Rights Watch concluded in a report released Thursday that is unclear whether sex offender laws "do more harm or good," noting that they prevent further harm to children but that they also encourage the harassment and ostracism of sex offenders. The report criticized registration laws as unsuitable for offenders who pose no safety …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Wednesday he would lead opposition to the nomination of former US Solicitor General Theodore Olson to the post of US attorney general. Olson was mentioned as a potential candidate on a short list floated by the White House earlier this week, but …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Negotiations have collapsed in Iraq over a controversial oil bill that would govern the distribution and refinement process and give the national government control over oil revenue, the New York Times reported Thursday. The bill, which the Iraqi cabinet approved in February, is now in jeopardy due to a conflict between the Iraqi oil …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Serbia will increase efforts to locate and arrest several war criminals to curry a favorable report from Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) when she advises EU officials on pending pre-membership deal with the country, a Serb liaison official said Wednesday. Del Ponte has heaped criticism on Serbia …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal law allowing prison officials to indefinitely commit sex offenders to a mental hospital following their prison term is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, effectively freeing five convicted sex offenders pending the government's filing of a motion to stay the order. Senior US District Court Judge Earl Britt of the US Eastern District of North …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A former US Marine sergeant pleaded not guilty in a California federal court Wednesday to two counts of voluntary manslaughter for killing two Iraqi insurgents during the Multinational National Force-Iraq's November 2004 offensive in Fallujah. The criminal complaint against Jose Nazario accuses the former sergeant and squad leader of ordering …

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