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Legal news from Tuesday, July 14, 2009
by Christian Ehret

The Spanish National Court on Tuesday dismissed charges against three US soldiers who were accused of being involved in the death of Spanish cameraman Jose Couso. The soldiers allegedly opened fire on a Baghdad hotel frequented by Western journalists in 2003 without provocation, killing two cameramen. The court recommended that the case be …

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by Andrew Morgan

The US House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday examined the effects of mandatory minimum sentences in advance of consideration of three proposed bills intended to provide more discretion to judges during sentencing. Representatives of the Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), the US Judicial Conference and Americans for Tax Reform urged the Subcommittee on Crime …

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by Devin Montgomery

US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday defended her judicial record and emphasized her reliance on precedent when deciding cases in response to confirmation questioning by the US Senate. Sotomayor defended a now overturned decision in Ricci v. DeStefano that she joined while …

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by Christian Ehret

A federal judge on Monday granted class-action status to approximately 400,000 immigrants from Central America who allege that a separate service fee for immigration applicants violates a federal law [8 USC § 1254a text]. Judge Thelton Henderson of the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the complaints could be brought as a …

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by Christian Ehret

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday sentenced former Rwandan Armed Forces Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho to life imprisonment after convicting him of crimes in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Renzaho was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the Geneva Conventions. …

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by Andrew Morgan

A former CIA counter-terrorism agent alleges that top al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded prior to the issuance of legal memos justifying the practice, the BBC reported Monday. John Kiriakou, who was part of the CIA team that captured Zubaydah in Pakistan, said that the detainee was …

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by Christian Ehret

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor on Tuesday denied war crimes allegations while testifying for the first time at his trial in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Taylor faces 11 counts of crimes against humanity, violations of the Geneva Conventions, and other violations of international humanitarian …

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by Andrew Morgan

The UK House of Lords on Monday approved a measure to create an independent commissioner for terrorism suspects, which must now go before the House of Commons. The Lords voted 145-103 on an amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill offered by Lord Lloyd, over the objections of members of the Labour Party …

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by Christian Ehret

Members of Congress on Monday called for an investigation into a secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program designed to kill al Qaeda members. The call follows the recently publicized information that former vice-president Dick Cheney directly ordered the CIA to withhold information about the program from Congress and kept it secret for eight years. The intelligence committees …

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by Andrew Morgan

Former US Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel lawyer John Yoo Monday declared his intent to appeal a lower court ruling allowing a lawsuit against him alleging complicity in torture to proceed. Yoo is appealing a June decision by District Judge Jeffrey White not to dismiss [San Francisco Chronicle …

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by Jay Carmella

The corruption trial of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori opened Monday with Fujimori confessing to having paid former Peruvian Intelligence Director Vladimiro Montesino $15 million to resign in 2000, but denying any criminal liability. Fujimori's confession was limited only to the facts in the case against him. …

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