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Legal news from Friday, June 26, 2009
by Christian Ehret

Former Croatian Serb wartime leader Milan Martic was transferred to Estonia Friday to serve a 35-year prison sentence for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws of war in Croatia. Martic was convicted and sentenced in 2007 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) …

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by Andrew Morgan

Amnesty International (AI) on Friday called for a public trial for a Thai political activist accused of insulting the royal family. Judge Prommat Toosang on Wednesday ordered that the trial of Darunee Charnchoengsilpakul be closed for national security reasons. AI's Asia-Pacific director Sam Zarifi noted that although the closure of trials …

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by Christian Ehret

Serbian prosecutors charged 17 former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Friday for war crimes committed during the war in Kosovo. The charges include rape, murder, mutilation, and torture resulting from the kidnapping of 159 Serb civilians and others in Gnjilane, Kosovo in 1999. The charges allege the death of 52 …

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by Andrew Morgan

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday approved a controversial bill [Provisional Measure 458/09 text, in Portuguese] that would allow legal privatization of publicly held Amazon land. The measure is aimed at stabilizing ownership of nearly 260,000 square miles of Amazon land, the contested ownership of which has sparked violence in the region. …

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by Andrew Morgan

The US Senate Armed Services Committee announced Friday the approval an appropriations bill that would alter the rules of evidence used in military commission trials. The version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which cleared the committee unanimously, would add language to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 …

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by Christian Ehret

A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved a motion to allow General Motors (GM) to borrow $33.3 billion in debtor in possession financing from the US and Canadian governments to finance a new company. Judge Robert Gerber quickly approved the motion, allowing the proceedings to continue without delay. The …

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by Andrew Morgan

Impeached federal judge Samuel Kent on Thursday resigned from his seat on the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas effective at the end of June. Kent's resignation comes a day after US Senate began impeachment trial proceedings against him, alleging that he sexually harassed his …

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by Christian Ehret

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya rejected a Supreme Court decision Thursday that called for the reinstatement of a military general whom Zelaya fired Wednesday. Zelaya's decision comes amidst a controversy over a referendum on constitutional change scheduled for Sunday at which the president hopes to gain supporters for drafting …

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by Matt Glenn

A judge in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday set the corruption trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich for June 3, 2010. Lawyers for two aids indicted with Blagojevich, Alonzo Monk and John Harris, indicated that their clients may agree to plea deals [Chicago Tribune …

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by Matt Glenn

Self-exiled Russian business tycoon Boris Berezovsky was found guilty of fraud in absentia Thursday by a Moscow regional court. The court found that Berezovsky and his business associate Yuli Dubov embezzled $4.5 million from their LogoVAZ car dealership. The charges, filed last November under the Russian Criminal Code [Article …

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by Benjamin Hackman

Billionaire financier Allen Stanford pleaded not guilty Thursday to 21 charges of fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas but remained in prison overnight. Prosecutors opposed Stanford's release by filing a memorandum in support of detention Thursday that argues Stanford would pose a …

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by Benjamin Hackman

The Russian Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the retrial of three men acquitted of involvement in the 2006 shooting death of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The court vacated the acquittals of Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov, and Ibragim Makhmudov after prosecutors argued the trial judge made procedural …

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