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Legal news from Friday, June 1, 2012
by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The US Army has dropped one of 17 murder charges and added others, including steroid and alcohol use, in its case against Army Sgt. Robert Bales, his lawyer told reporters on Friday. Bales was charged with 17 counts of murder in March for the alleged shooting of Afghan civilians, including women and children, in a Kandahar village. …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic told a Montenegrin state television station Friday that he does not think that the 1995 Srebrenica Masscre was genocide. The Srebrenica massacre took place during the Bosnian Civil War and resulted in the death of more than 7,000 Muslim men. The president acknowledged that the incident involved …

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by Max Slater

Upwards of 20.9 million people worldwide work in forced labor, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency focusing on labor rights, redported Friday. The ILO's estimate of about 21 million people in forced labor is a revision from its 2005 "minimum estimate" that 12.3 million people were victims of forced labor. The ILO describes …

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by Sung Un Kim

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday urged the Sudanese government to reform its discriminatory laws and abolish both the death penalty and all corporal punishment after a young Sudanese woman was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Intisar Sharif Abdallah, who is believed to be under the age of 18, was sentenced in …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The Chinese government has detained a former aide to a vice minister in China's security ministry who is suspected of spying for the US, anonymous sources told Reuters. The former aide, whose identity is unknown, allegedly passed information to the US government over a period of years and was detained earlier this year. Neither the Chinese nor …

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by Sung Un Kim

Voters in Ireland have approved the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance aimed at improving fiscal discipline and promoting greater financial information disclosure between EU member states, according to official results Friday. In a national referendum that took place on Thursday and had a turnout of around 50 percent, 60.3 percent voted in favor of …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday granted a request by the Libyan government to postpone an order to transfer Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, to ICC custody. The order will be postponed …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, on Friday condemned the increasing number of murders of journalists in Pakistan and urged the government to investigate the crimes. Pakistani journalists Abdul Razaq Gul and Aurengzeb Tunio were recently murdered only a few days apart. Gul's body reportedly showed …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday told officials at the Istanbul II Conference on Somalia that the Somali government must continue to work to ensure a smooth transition into permanent government and a new constitution in order to begin its next "political phase." Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has been working …

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by Max Slater

The UN Human Rights Council voted to condemn Syria on Friday for killing more than 100 civilians in the Houla region of the country last week. The 47-member body voted 41-3 to approve a resolution blaming "pro-regime elements" and government troops for the massacre in Houla. Russia, China and Cuba voted against the …

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by Sung Un Kim

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday urged the government of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to ensure justice for the victims of the recently increasing violence. It has been reported that more than 100,000 people have been affected by the recent violence in the province …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday ended its investigation into the health care conditions of incarcerated former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, finding that the Ukrainian government provided her with adequate care. Tymoshenko is currently facing trial on tax evasion charges but has been unable to …

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by Max Slater

A New York state court ruled Wednesday that the family of a Holocaust survivor must return a gold tablet to a museum in Germany. The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division Second Judicial Department ordered the family of Holocaust survivor Riven Flamenbaum, who died in 2003, to return the 3,200 year-old gold …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of several inmates over solitary confinement policies at a California prison Security Housing Unit (SHU). The defendants are California Governor Jerry Brown, the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the Chief for the Office of Correctional Safety and a warden …

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by Sung Un Kim

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on Thursday in favor of Google in the case of Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc.. Judge William Alsup held that Google did not infringe patents and copyrights held by Oracle when it used Oracle's …

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by Max Slater

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida on Thursday blocked part of a new Florida election law that plaintiffs claim restrict voter registration efforts. Judge Robert Hinkle struck down a provision of Florida's election law that required any group that conducts a voter registration drive to turn in registration …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A lawyer for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday defended the warrantless use of global positioning system (GPS) devices on suspects' vehicles despite a January Supreme Court ruling declaring GPS tracking to be a "search" under the Fourth Amendment. In oral arguments before the US Court of Appeals for …

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by Sung Un Kim

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday granted class action status to numerous authors suing Google over its book-scanning initiative. Judge Denny Chin reasoned that the numerosity, commonality and typicality elements for Rule 23(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Laws legalizing marriage and adoption for same-sex couples will soon be introduced in France, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told a French television station on Friday. Same-sex marriage is currently banned by law in France. The prime minister's announcement comes nearly a year after the French National Assembly voted to reject a bill [JURIST …

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by Max Slater

Incidents of hate-based murders against LGBT individuals in the US increased in 2011, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reported Thursday. The annual report, entitled "Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-affected Communities in the U.S. in 2011," found that 30 LGBT individuals were killed in 2011 in hate-based murders, the …

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by Sung Un Kim

Ecuadorian plaintiffs seeking to collect on a judgment against Chevron Corp over Amazon pollution on Wednesday filed a collection action in Ontario's Superior Court of Justice. The pollution was originally caused by Texaco in the 1980s. Chevron acquired the company with its liabilities in 2001. With this new lawsuit, the …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The Syrian government has released more than 500 prisoners detained during pro-democracy demonstrations in the last month, Syria's official news agency reported Thursday. The report indicated that the government released 265 prisoners on May 5 and another 250 on May 17, adding that only those prisoners who "did not commit murders" were freed. The announcement was made …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Libya will begin the prosecution of senior officials who served under former leader Muammar Gaddafi in June, Prosecutor-General Abdul Azizi al-Hassadi told reporters on Thursday. The trials will begin with the prosecution of former spy chief Buzeid Dorda. The Prosecutor-General's announcement comes after the Libyan government formally challenged the right of the …

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by Sung Un Kim

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. agreed on Thursday to a $21 million settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for discrimination in the pricing of mortgage loans. DOJ had filed a suit against the company for discriminating against borrowers based on race and national origin rather than on risk. The company allegedly engaged in …

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