[JURIST] The UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee [official website] Sunday called "deplorable" what it termed "false US assurances" about rendition flights through the UK Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia and said the "failure of the United States Administration to tell the truth resulted in the UK Government inadvertently misleading" the committee and the House of Commons about US operations on a military base [official website] located on the island. In a new report [text] it said it would conduct a further investigation of UK supervision of US activities on Diego Garcia, including all flights and ships serviced there. In February UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband said that two US planes landed on Diego Garcia in 2002 to refuel during extraordinary rendition flights [JURIST report]. Miliband apologized [text] for previously denying that such stops had been made. His statement followed an admission [text] by US CIA Director Michael Hayden, who said the information on the renditions to Guantanamo Bay and Morocco was discovered in late 2007 after the CIA reviewed records on the renditions. AP has more.
Lawyers for Reprieve [advocacy website], a UK legal charity representing some of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, alleged [report, PDF] last year that UK overseas territories have been used "to support illegal interstate transfer, enforced disappearance and torture in the context of the 'war on terror'" and urged UK lawmakers to question US and UK officials about the allegations. In 2005, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak said there had been allegations that the US was secretly detaining prisoners on military vessels [JURIST report] at the Diego Garcia naval base.
[JURIST] A class of plaintiffs suing several dozen US companies which did business in South Africa during apartheid [JURIST news archive] will ask to narrow their claims Tuesday in a status conference to be held in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). The plaintiffs are South Africans seeking to hold the businesses liable under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) [text] based on alleged complicity in perpetuating the oppression of the black majority in that country. In 2003, the South African government issued a statement [PDF text] of its position on substantially similar litigation then in US courts, calling it "inconsistent with South Africa's approach to achieving its long term goals." Global Research has more.
The case returns to the SDNY after the US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] affirmed [PDF text] a Second Circuit judgment [PDF, text] in May on the rare grounds that it lacked a quorum [JURIST report] due to four recusals. The Second Circuit's decision allowed the ATCA action to go forward to trial [JURIST report], but had dismissed additional claims filed under the Torture Victims Protection Act [text]. The Supreme Court's recusals were statutorily required [text] because several justices had financial conflicts, but raised fairness concerns and brought about discussion as to possible effects on future cases.
[JURIST] A new tool for measuring adherence to the rule of law developed by the World Justice Project (WJP) [advocacy website] was presented at the World Justice Forum [PDF agenda] in Vienna Thursday. The development of the Rule of Law Index [WJP backgrounder] was sponsored by the American Bar Association [profession website] and is based on principles [WJP mission statement] which emphasize the relationship between the rule of law and the quality of people's everyday lives. AP has more.
Developing a more quantitatively-oriented assessment tool was deemed important because dictators often use the language of democracy to legitimize their actions. In its World Report 2008 [HRW index], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized established democracies for not doing enough to expose dubious democratic claims by authoritarian regimes.
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