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Legal news from Wednesday, May 28, 2008
by Leslie Schulman

Diplomats reached an agreement Wednesday on a draft treaty banning the use, manufacture, and stockpiling of cluster munitions following ten days of negotiation at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions. The treaty forbids signatories from acting in a way that would assist, encourage, or induce "anyone to engage in …

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by Devin Montgomery

Human Rights Watch Wednesday sharply criticized Egypt's decision to extend the country's emergency laws for a further two year period, saying the move "shows contempt for the rule of law." Emergency laws have been in effect in Egypt since the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, giving the …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation ruled Tuesday that the law under which the former head of media advocacy NGO Educated Media Foundation (EMF) was charged in 2007 was unconstitutionally vague, requiring that smuggling charges against her be dropped. Manana Aslamaziyan was arrested after she entered the country without declaring over …

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by Andrew Gilmore

A group of 35 members of anti-war activism organization Witness Against Torture appeared in a DC Superior Court Tuesday. The 35 were arrested at a protest in front of the US Supreme Court in January, where they were demonstrating for the closure of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and were …

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by Devin Montgomery

Terrorism cases should be tried in the US federal criminal court system, rather than by military tribunals or special terrorism courts, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights First in conjunction with two former federal prosecutors. Consolidating materials from over 120 international terrorism cases, the report …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Supreme Court of British Columbia Tuesday ruled that Canadian laws on drug possession and trafficking are unconstitutional as they violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Justice Ian Pitfield gave the Canadian government until next June to amend the drug law to bring it in line with the Charter. The case concerns a …

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by Andrew Gilmore

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday promised to step up efforts to combat child exploitation and sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by UN peacekeeping forces. In a short statement released by his spokesperson, Ban expressed his concern over recent allegations of misconduct. The statement read, in part:The United Nations is committed to training and monitoring our civilian staff …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Several public health and environmental groups filed a petition for review of new US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Tuesday. Non-profit environmental law firm Earthjustice is handling the suit, which alleges that the EPA ignored the input of top scientists in …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Competing Palestinian governments controlled by Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza have been committing human rights violations in their bids for dominance over the Palestinian territories, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights (PICCR) said Tuesday. PICCR reported that it had received over 2,000 reports of human rights abuses in 2007, including …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The 601-member Nepalese Constituent Assembly voted Wednesday to abolish the country's monarchy and establish a republic. The decision gives King Gyanendera fifteen days to abandon the royal palace in the capital Kathmandu, and declares him to be an ordinary citizen. Wednesday's vote finalizes a development that had been expected since December 2007, when Nepal's interim parliament …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Amnesty International (AI) released its annual report on the state of human rights around the world on Tuesday. The major themes of this year's report include violence against women, US detention of terrorism suspects, persecution of human rights activists, and the continued use of the death penalty in criminal prosecutions. The organization's Secretary General, Irene Khan, …

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