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Legal news from Wednesday, July 8, 2009
by Christian Ehret

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed suit Wednesday against the US government, challenging a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that allegedly interferes with the state's same-sex marriage law. Coakley argues that the federal law, which denies federal recognition for same-sex marriages, interferes with the state's right to define and …

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by Andrew Morgan

A court in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday convicted 330 people on terrorism-related charges, according to a report by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution brought charges including belonging to a terrorist group, conspiracy to cause mayhem and insecurity, financing terrorism, and treason against people accused of conducting, financing and assisting a …

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by Christian Ehret

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Wednesday rejected an immunity claim brought by war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, citing irrelevance between a possible immunity deal and his trial. The decision to reject the claims follows Karadzic's recent renewal of his immunity defense …

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by Andrew Morgan

A former prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay told the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that the military commission system used to try detained enemy combatants is "broken beyond repair." In testimony at a hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, …

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by Christian Ehret

The UK House of Lords on Tuesday rejected a proposed amendment that would have barred the prosecution of those who go abroad to help others commit assisted suicide. The proposed provision of the Coroners and Justice Bill, which covered "acts not capable of encouraging or assisting suicide," was rejected by a 141-194 vote [vote …

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by Andrew Morgan

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Tuesday announced plans to hold a public hearing on a series of regulatory reforms aimed at curbing excessive speculation in energy commodity markets. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said that the different regulatory treatment given to agriculture commodities, for which the CFTC sets position limits, …

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by Andrew Morgan

Investigators from the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday concluded public hearings into alleged violations of international human rights law during December and January's fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip. The head of the four person UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, former South African Constitutional Court [official …

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by Christian Ehret

The UN Security Council on Tuesday extended the terms for judges from the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) until December 31, 2010, or until they complete their cases. In unanimously adopting resolutions 1877 and 1878, the Security Council extended the terms for 30 permanent and ad litem …

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by Brian Jackson

Britain's Justice Secretary Jack Straw on Tuesday proposed expanded laws that would allow British authorities to prosecute non-resident individuals suspected of war crimes. With the proposed changes, individuals who currently live in the UK, but are not residents, may be prosecuted for war crimes or genocide that took place as long ago as 1991. Such …

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