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Legal news from Monday, November 16, 2009
by Hillary Stemple

Prosecutors from the five major international tribunals on Monday called on member states "to seriously consider the adoption of a convention on the Suppression and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity." The statement came at the end of a three-day convention and reitereated the need to fight against impunity for perpetrators of serious international crimes. Representatives from the …

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by Haley Wojdowski

An Italian court on Monday reopened the tax fraud trial of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, but immediately adjourned it until January as a result of official business. Berlusconi was unable to attend the hearing as a result of a global food summit in Rome. Counsel for Berlusconi said that he will be unavailable …

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by Jay Carmella

The US Supreme Court issued a summary decision on Monday in Wong v. Belmontes [docket; cert. petition, PDF], finding that a defendant's attorney was not required to present mitigating evidence that could have given prosecutors an opportunity to discuss a previous murder committed by the defendant. The Court reversed the decision of …

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by Megan McKee

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on Monday handed over its detention facility to the Sierra Leone Prison Service in a monumental step towards the court's resolution. The Sierra Leone Prison Service will use the facility, which meets international standards, to house female prisoners. Director of Prisons Moses Showers emphasized the importance of …

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by Patrice Collins

International human rights officials toured the new US detention facility in Parwan, Afghanistan, at the edge of Bagram Air Base on Sunday. The new facility, which has room for 1,400 detainees, is part of the Obama administration's wider efforts to improve its Afghan detainee system and will eventually be controlled by the …

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by Jay Carmella

The US Supreme Court on Monday granted certiorari in Magwood v. Culliver [docket; cert. petition, PDF]. The court limited its grant of certiorari to the first question presented, whether "hen a person is resentenced after having obtained federal habeas relief from an earlier sentence, is a claim in a federal habeas …

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by Jonathan Cohen

Republican leaders on Sunday expressed strong opposition to the Obama administration's plan to pursue federal charges against five men accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) told CBS's Face the Nation that he would:do …

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by Zach Zagger

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) and US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) expressed support Sunday for the Obama administration's proposal to move Guantanamo Bay detainees to a facility in Northwestern Illinois. The Obama administration is reportedly evaluating the Thomson Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison located about 150 miles …

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by Ann Riley

US President Barack Obama acknowledged Sunday that it is unlikely that the December UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, will produce a legally binding agreement addressing global climate change. Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman said that it is impractical to expect that a final, legally binding agreement could …

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by Safiya Boucaud

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday invoked his authority to bar public disclosure of about 40 photos depicting the abuse of Afghan and Iraqi detainees by US soldiers. The move was followed by a notification and request by the Obama administration asking the US Supreme Court to set aside the decision of …

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