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Legal news from Thursday, October 23, 2008
by Eric Firkel

A Burundi military court Thursday sentenced Colonel Vital Bangirinama to death for his role in the 2006 killings of 31 civilians in Muyinga province. Human rights groups, which had previously criticized the Burundi government for not actively prosecuting its own military officers for war crimes, applauded the prosecution. Bangirinama is reported to have …

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by Leslie Schulman

Hu Jia, a Chinese human rights activist convicted in April on charges of inciting subversion of state power, was awarded the Sakharov Prize on Thursday by the European Parliament, for his fight for democracy. Hu has become prominently known as an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and a …

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by Ximena Marinero

The Constitutional Court of Turkey on Wednesday published its decision striking down recent amendments to the Turkish Constitution to allow the wearing of headscarves in universities. Explaining the reasoning for its ruling in June, the court held that lifting the ban "indirectly changes and makes nonfunctional the basic …

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by Andrew Morgan

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights Martin Scheinin Wednesday urged the UN to restructure or eliminate the existing terrorist "blacklisting" system. Currently, the Security Council's Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee maintains a list of people and entities associated with the Taliban, al …

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by David Weber

The German Federal Foreign Office on Wednesday rejected a ruling by Italy's highest court ordering Germany to pay damages to relatives of civilians killed in the town of Civitella during World War II. The Italian Court of Cassation on Tuesday awarded 1 million euros (US $1.3 million) to family …

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by Leslie Schulman

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has denied requests by former Khmer Rouge officials Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary to receive court-appointed medical experts who would determine whether the men are fit to stand trial to face war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. Chea, known as Brother Number …

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by Benjamin Klein

The European Court of First Instance on Thursday struck down a decision by the Council of the European Union freezing the assets of the prominent Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The court annulled the 2007 decision as applied to PMOI, ruling that the council had …

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by Benjamin Klein

The US Department of Defense announced Wednesday that it has filed new war crimes charges against two Kuwaiti men held at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay. Fouad Rabia, a US-educated aeronautical engineer suspected of running a supply depot at Tora Bora, and Fayiz Kandari, an alleged adviser to Osama bin Laden [JURIST …

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by Jake Oresick

A South African judge Wednesday gave prosecutors leave to appeal a ruling dismissing corruption charges against Jacob Zuma, head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Zuma is expected to become president after next year’s elections, although he has pledged to resign if convicted. Zuma contends the charges …

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by Eric Firkel

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Wednesday sentenced former Bosnian Serb special police officer Vaso Todorovic to six years in prison for committing crimes against humanity in the Srebrenica massacre. Todorovic was previously charged with genocide before accepting a plea agreement reducing the charge to crimes against humanity. As …

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by Devin Montgomery

A judicial panel of the UK House of Lords Wednesday ruled that the British government acted within its power in denying a group of Indian Ocean islanders known as Chagossians the right to return to an archipelago under British control. The group had challenged a 2004 order prohibiting permanent residence on the …

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by Devin Montgomery

A Canadian government inquiry has found that officials of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) "indirectly contributed" to the torture of three citizens while in Syria between 2001 and 2004. The men, Ahmed Al Maati, Abdullah Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin, claimed they were detained and …

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