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Legal news from Thursday, October 27, 2011

[JURIST] Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) [advocacy website] filed suit Thursday in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website] challenging [text, PDF; press release] the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive]. DOMA defines marriage for federal purposes as a legal union between … [read more]

[JURIST] Proposals for amendments to an Egyptian political corruption law were criticized by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Wednesday for their potential for abuse [press release]. HRW reports that the amendments, proposed by the Egyptian Cabinet of Ministers [official website], would allow authorities to imprison anyone convicted of crimes … [read more]

[JURIST] Brazil's Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Portuguese] approved [press release, in Portuguese] a bill [materials, in Portuguese] on Wednesday that establishes a truth commission to investigate human rights abuses from 1946 to 1988. The bill must now be signed into law by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff [BBC profile], … [read more]

[JURIST] An Argentine court on Wednesday sentenced 12 former military and police officers to life in prison for crimes against humanity. The defendants were charged and convicted [La Nacion report, in Spanish] of various crimes that took place in the Escuela de Mecanica de la Armada (ESMA), which was used … [read more]

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court [official website] should expand its investigation [press release] into the disappearances and killings of more than 1,000 people leading up to Kenya's 2007 election [JURIST news archive], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Thursday. The 48-page report [text, PDF], "'Hold Your Heart': Waiting for … [read more]

[JURIST] The presidents of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] on Wednesday presented their respective annual reports [UN press release; ICJ & ICC reports, PDFs] to the UN General Assembly [official website], stressing the increasing importance of the courts and need for … [read more]

[JURIST] The Uruguayan House of Representatives [official website, in Spanish] voted 50-40 Thursday to revoke a 25-year-old amnesty law [press release, in Spanish], which prevented investigations, adjudications and human rights prosecutions of military junta officials during their regime between 1973-1985. The 1986 expiry law was passed after Uruguay returned to … [read more]

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] reemphasized Wednesday the importance of accountability issues in Sri Lanka related to conflicts with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive]. The comments came during a meeting with Mahinda Samarasinghe [UN News Centre report], the Special Envoy of the … [read more]

[JURIST] Michigan Attorney General Bill Shuette [official profile], joined by four other states, on Wednesday asked [cert. petition, PDF] the US Supreme Court to require the US Army Corps of Engineers [official websites] to accelerate a study on ecological separation as well as installation of nets to stop the advancement … [read more]

[JURIST] An Indonesian court announced Wednesday that it would reduce the 15-year prison sentence being served by a radical Indonesian cleric. A spokesman for the Jakarta High Court confirmed without elaboration that the chief judge reduced the jail term to nine years. Regarded as a spiritual leader of militant Islam … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] heard arguments Wednesday in an appeal by US citizen and convicted terrorist Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] to reinstate his unlawful detention suit against several government officials. Padilla, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website], … [read more]

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