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Legal news from Friday, September 23, 2011

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] announced changes to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Friday, allowing states to opt-out of the program [video; transcript]. The new program [fact sheet, PDF; press release] gives states flexibility in how they design their curriculum, … [read more]

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called on Haitian authorities Thursday to prosecute [press release] former president Jean-Claude Duvalier [BBC backgrounder] for crimes against humanity that occurred under his leadership between 1971 and 1986. The pressure on Haiti comes after AI released a report [text, PDF] detailing human rights abuses … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Court of Federal Claims [official website] on Thursday heard arguments [ACLU press release] regarding a class action lawsuit challenging a government policy that halves severance pay of service members who have been honorably discharged for being gay. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed the … [read more]

[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Friday urged the Syrian government to end their violent crackdown [press release] on protesters and permit an independent investigation into the current situation in the country. Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the OHCHR, said "We are … [read more]

[JURIST] Private Andrew Holmes, 21, pleaded guilty on Thursday to murdering a teenage Afghan civilian that he knew was unarmed. Holmes is the second soldier to plead guilty [Reuters report] of five who have been charged with murder as part of a plot contrived with fellow soldiers to kill Afghan … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) [official website] approved a report [text, PDF] on Thursday detailing concerns with the controversial Secure Communities Program [materials], a federal enforcement program that partners local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities. A subcommittee of HSAC was formed in June by … [read more]

[JURIST] The Uganda Constitutional Court [official website] ruled [materials] Thursday that former Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [JURIST news archive] rebel Thomas Kwoyelo is entitled to amnesty under the country's Amnesty Act of 2000 [text]. Kwoyelo was charged [JURIST report] in July by the International Crimes Division (ICD) [official website] of … [read more]

[JURIST] An EU judge on Thursday placed senior Kosovo politician and parliamentarian Fatmir Limaj under house arrest for one month while awaiting trial on charges of war crimes stemming from the 1998-99 Kosovo war with Serbia [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], acting on a request by prosecutors for the European … [read more]

[JURIST] A French court in Meaux on Thursday fined two Muslim women for violating the controversial French law [materials, in French] that bans wearing full-face veils in public, including the Islamic burqa [JURIST news archive] and niqab [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Although more than 90 women have been cited … [read more]

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