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Legal news from Friday, June 22, 2012
by Sung Un Kim

Amnesty International (AI) on Friday urged Sudanese authorities to cease violence against protesters and journalists. The call came after the country's police in Khartoum used tear gas and batons against civilians who protested over austerity cuts on Sunday. The protest was initiated by student activists and expanded into several neighborhoods. The proposed austerity …

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by Sung Un Kim

Head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) Augustine Mahiga on Friday welcomed the signing of the joint communique ending the country's transitional governing arrangement. During the meeting in Nairobi in which the communique was signed, the principal signatories of the Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia [text, …

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by Sung Un Kim

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville on Friday expressed his concern over the continued attacks on churches in Nigeria which have killed more than 100 people, citing possible crimes against humanity. The Islamic militant group known as Boko Haram was responsible for the attacks on multiple churches …

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by Sung Un Kim

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Friday that the treaty body system is in crisis and called on the international community to strengthen it. In her report [text. PDF], she revealed that the human rights treaty body system has doubled in size since 2004 while the resources needed to maintain the system …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on Thursday convicted former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) member Eric Senessie on eight of nine counts for witness tampering. Four counts alleged that he had bribed witnesses who testified against the former Liberian president Charles Taylor to recant their testimonies. …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Serbian war crimes prosecutor announced on Friday that his office is investigating suspects accused of helping former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic and former security official Stojan Zupljanin evade justice until they were arrested to face trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official …

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by Sung Un Kim

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton on Thursday condemned Iran for its treatment of minorities and called on the country to cease its discriminatory policies. She also expressed her concern regarding the verdict of the Iran Court of Appeals …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the town of Colorado City, Arizona, the city of Hildale, Utah, as well as local utility companies, alleging that the authorities have engaged in systematic discrimination against nonmembers of the dominant local church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS). …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions continued to criticize US drone strikes on Thursday, saying that in some cases the attacks may constitute war crimes. In addressing the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Christof Heyns said the drone strikes put innocent civilians at risk and …

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by Sung Un Kim

The UK High Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that retaining photographs and other materials of an innocent suspect should be prohibited. The two-judge panel in London's High Court held that the current policy of the Metropolitan Police Service (MET) unjustifiably interfered with an individual's right to respect for his private …

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by Max Slater

A group of Republican members of the US House of Representatives filed a memorandum in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut on Wednesday, asking the district court to stay a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) until a similar case in …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang on Thursday urged the government of Malawi to improve its human rights conditions and promote accountability in the country. In particular, Kang expressed concern about the overcrowding of prisons and slow process of justice in the country. Kang also urged the government to initiate prosecution of …

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by Sung Un Kim

The International Trade Committee (INTA) of the European Parliament on Thursday rejected the proposed Anti-Countefeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in a vote of 19-12 vote. The ACTA's goal is to counter intellectual property theft, such as fake consumer goods and medicine as well as digital file-sharing of pirated media. The 31 members of the …

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by Max Slater

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Thursday appealed a ruling by a district court judge that held that an abortion ultrasound bill is unconstitutional. In his appeal, Pruitt argued that the district court's ruling prevents women from obtaining important medical information that ultrasounds provide. HB 2780 mandates that any woman seeking …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A lawyer for the state of Florida on Thursday defended Florida's voter-purging policy in his oral argument before the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The lawyer argued that there is no evidence to verify that the new practices disproportionately affect minorities, as the federal government contends. The US Department of Justice …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A Bahraini doctor who was sentenced to one year in prison last week for his alleged participation in anti-government activity has begun a hunger strike to protest the conviction. Saeed al-Samaheeji said he started the hunger strike to protest the false accusations that have led to his conviction. Al-Samaheeji is one of 20 medical professionals convicted in …

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by Sung Un Kim

A former army chief of staff and ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday accused the president of having ordered the killing of his preceding president, Juvenal Habyarimana. During his testimony in a Johannesburg court assessing his own attempted murder in 2010 in South Africa, General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa claimed [WP …

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by Jamie Reese

Two reports were presented Thursday to the UN Human Rights Council to urge for greater protection for the right to life of journalists and media freedom. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns [official website; report, …

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by Jamie Reese

Presiding judge of the Cook County Chancery Division, Moshe Jacobius, agreed Thursday to combine two lawsuits that claim the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The two suits were filed at the end of May against Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Cook County Clerk David Orr, who issues …

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