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Legal news from Wednesday, June 13, 2012
by Sung Un Kim

Ontario lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously approved an amendment to the province's Human Rights Code that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. All three parties of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario approved Toby's Act, making Ontario the first province to acknowledge the rights of transgender people. The passing of the amendment was …

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by Sung Un Kim

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on Tuesday that Apple must defend against lawsuits filed by the company's customers under two California consumer protection laws. Judge Lucy Koh dismissed the other defendants in the lawsuit including Google, AdMarvel, Admob, Flurry and Medialets. She also dismissed …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Ten US senators on Monday filed an amicus brief urging the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal recognition of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages. The brief argues that the federal government had a legitimate interest in creating a uniform federal …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs on Wednesday said that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip must be lifted to prevent further human rights violations. Israel maintains a fence along its border with the Gaza Strip, restricting the flow of goods and people through heavily-guarded border-crossings. Valerie Amos said that Israel's …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on Wednesday held the first hearing on its jurisdiction and the legality of its creation. The defense lawyer for Mustafa Badreddine, one of the four men wanted by the court for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, argued …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Egypt's Ministry of Justice on Wednesday issued a decree restoring broad arrest powers to the Egyptian military to arrest civilians for non-military offenses. The decree restores some of the power previously granted to the military through the emergency law, which expired in May after being in effect for nearly 30 years. Under the decree the military is …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday initiated contempt of court proceedings against Malik Riaz Hussain. The court's action was a response to the accusation brought forth by Hussain who alleged a day earlier that the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his family members have accepted $3.7 million in kickbacks and …

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by Sung Un Kim

UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the Ivory Coast Doudou Diene on Wednesday called on all Ivorians and the international community to maintain their support in the wake of the recent killing of seven UN peacekeepers, eight civilians and one Ivorian soldier. The peacekeepers, who were serving with the UN Operation in the Ivory …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Three officials from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Australian ambassador to Libya were able to visit and assess the condition of the four detained ICC staff members on Tuesday, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs reported. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Wednesday that the prison conditions were "adequate" and that …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Egyptian parliament on Tuesday elected another panel of 100 delegates to write a new constitution for the country. Parliamentary speaker Saad al-Katatni stated that unlike the first panel, the newly elected 100-member panel represents all Egyptian groups. However, the list of panel members faced some criticism for underrepresenting women, intellectuals and Christians who make up a …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's law against second-parent adoptions, which effectively bans individuals in same-sex couples from adopting their partner's child. The ban is based on state adoption regulations [NCGS § 48] which provide that unmarried individuals may not adopt a child unless the …

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by Sung Un Kim

The government of the Falkland Islands announced on Tuesday that it will hold a referendum on its political status close to its 30-year anniversary of independence from Argentina's occupation in 1982. Gavin Short, chairman of the islands' legislative assembly, expressed the archipelago's view of its sovereignty from Argentina:I have no doubt that …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A Tunisian military court on Wednesday convicted former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in absentia on charges of inciting violence and murder in connection with the death of four protesters in January 2011 and sentenced him to 20 years. Ben Ali has already been sentenced to over 55 years in prison on other …

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by Sung Un Kim

Iranian human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani has been sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment by a Tehran Revolutionary Court, his daughter said Tuesday. Maede Soltani, who lives in Germany, was notified on Monday about last week's ruling. The human rights lawyer was initially sentenced to 18 …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday urged Bangladesh to open its borders to hundreds of refugees fleeing sectarian violence in neighboring Myanmar. Escalating violence between Buddhists and ethnic Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan State of Myanmar has put residents in the region at risk and has left an unknown number …

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by Sung Un Kim

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday expressed its desire to start two Kenya trials simultaneously to avoid any appearance of bias in the March 2013 presidential election. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo stated in a news conference that the office of prosecution wants to start the trials against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit seeking to halt Florida's ongoing purging of voter rolls. The DOJ alleges that Florida's policy violates the National Voter Registration Act (VRA), which requires all voter roll maintenance to cease 90 days before the primary election, meaning …

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by Sung Un Kim

The office of prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) asked the court on Wednesday to sentence the convicted Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to 30 years of imprisonment. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the court in the sentencing hearing that …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A referendum [R-74 text] to overturn a new same-sex marriage law in Washington will appear on the ballots in November, the Secretary of State's office announced on Tuesday. Voters will have the option to accept or reject the new law, which legalizes civil marriage for same-sex couples. Last week, Preserve Marriage Washington …

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by Sung Un Kim

Lawyers for student organizations asked the Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday to suspend parts of an emergency law that restrict spontaneous protests until the law's constitutionality is determined. The law, "An Act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend", was introduced and passed on May 18 to …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

Prominent Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alekeyev on Wednesday filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) challenging a St. Petersburg city ordinance that prohibits the spreading "homosexual propaganda" to minors. Alekeyev alleges that the ordinance violates Article 10 and Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Last month, …

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by Saheli Chakrabarty

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held a hearing Tuesday on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), focusing on discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees across the country. Among the panel of witnesses attending the hearing was Kylar Broadus, founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition …

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by Saheli Chakrabarty

Amnesty International (AI) called Tuesday for an end to the supply of arms to groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The report highlights the flaws in Congolese security, which AI says allow for violations towards civilians by armed forces and groups due to the availability and …

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