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Legal news from Wednesday, July 9, 2008
by Andrew Gilmore

German border police arrested Rwandan war crimes suspect Callixte Mbarushiman on Wednesday as he was preparing to travel to Russia. Mbarushimana, a Hutu, was an employee of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Rwanda during the the country's 1994 genocide, and was arrested in Frankfurt after Interpol issued an alert. He is suspected …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) Monday filed bar complaints against two former US Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, alleging that Michael J. Elston and Esther Slater McDonald improperly considered applicants' political affiliations when reviewing applications for DOJ jobs and summer internships. Both McDonald and Elston were named in a …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Two Swiss nationalist parties gathered enough signatures on their initiative against the construction of minarets to force a national referendum on whether the country's constitution should be amended to ban the structures, the Swiss government announced Tuesday. Officials for the right-wing Swiss People's Party (UDC) and the Federal Democratic Union (UDF) …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Thailand's opposition Democrat party Wednesday announced it would launch an impeachment bid against Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej after a series of court decisions against key officials in the government and Samak's People Power Party (PPP). On Wednesday, the Thai Constitutional Court dismissed Thai Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsup from office after finding …

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by Andrew Gilmore

A former Chinese anti-corruption prosecutor was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for torturing to death a government official in May 2007. Xiong Zhengliang was convicted of killing Liang Jiping, a deputy director of a government electricity utility, while Liang was in custody for allegedly accepting bribes. Xiong and two deputies beat and deprived Liang of sleep [The …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A pair of Bosnian Serb cousins went to trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Wednesday on charges of murder, extermination and torture. Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic are accused of crimes against humanity related to their actions as part of a paramilitary unit during the 1992-1995 …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Senate Wednesday voted 69-28 to approve a bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies participating in the NSA warrantless surveillance program. Earlier in the day, the Senate had rejected three proposed amendments to the bill that would …

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by Devin Montgomery

Israeli rights group Yesh Din published an update Tuesday to its 2006 report detailing the lack of investigations and prosecutions of Israeli settlers who commit crimes against Palestinians. According to the report, Israeli police have issued indictments in less than 10 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Attorney General Michael Mukasey denied Wednesday that proposed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) guidelines would allow agents to open terror investigations based solely on a person's race, religion, or ethnicity. Testifying at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mukasey said that travel to foreign terror "hot spots" would be one of …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The chief judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia said Tuesday that the US government should make detention appeals by Guantanamo detainees a top priority, and devote all necessary resources to ensuring that the appeals reach trial in a timely manner. Judge Thomas F. Hogan  made the comments at the first hearing concerning coordination …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) Wednesday denied the bail request of former Khmer Rouge minister for social affairs Ieng Thirith, finding that she could be criminally culpable for her actions and that she is still dangerous to society. The ECCC ordered Ieng Thirith into provisional …

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by Nick Fiske

A UK intelligence official said Tuesday that there are "very strong indications" that the Russian government was behind the murder of former KGB agent and British citizen Alexander Litvinenko. The official made the comments anonymously during a television interview with the BBC, and asserted that the type of poison used proves …

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by Devin Montgomery

The US government is preventing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from paying lawyers defending Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspects on trial before US military commissions, ACLU director Anthony Romero said Tuesday. Lawyers for the group's John Adams Project are defending detainees included on the US Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control [official …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A former British intelligence bureau chief told the House of Lords Tuesday that a proposed anti-terror bill [materials; BBC Q/A] allowing authorities to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 42 days is impractical and unprincipled. Elizabeth Manningham-Buller, who resigned as the head of MI5 last year, said that the …

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by Nick Fiske

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) expressed "great concern" Tuesday over Italy's decision to dissolve the office of High Commissioner against corruption, effective August 25, 2008. In a letter to High Commissioner Vincenzo Grimaldi, the president of GRECO, a coalition of European states dedicated to monitoring compliance with the Council of Europe's anti-corruption …

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