Legal news from Friday, June 22, 2012

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday urged [press release] 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 … [read more]

[JURIST] Head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) [official website] Augustine Mahiga [official profile] on Friday welcomed [statement, PDF] the signing of the joint communique [text, PDF] ending the country's transitional governing arrangement. During the meeting in Nairobi in which the communique was signed, the principal signatories of … [read more]

[JURIST] Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville [Washington Times profile] on Friday expressed [press briefing] 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 … [read more]

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] said Friday that the treaty body system is in crisis [press release] 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 … [read more]

[JURIST] The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] on Thursday convicted [press release, PDF] former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] 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 … [read more]

[JURIST] The Serbian war crimes prosecutor announced on Friday that his office is investigating suspects accused of helping former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive] and former security official Stojan Zupljanin [ICTY case materials] evade justice until they were arrested to face trial before … [read more]

[JURIST] The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy [official website] and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton [official profile] on Thursday condemned [text, PDF] Iran for its treatment of minorities and called on the country to cease its discriminatory policies. She also expressed her … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday filed a lawsuit [press release] 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, … [read more]

[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions [official profile] continued to criticize US drone strikes on Thursday, saying that in some cases the attacks may constitute war crimes. In addressing the 20th Session [materials] of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Christof Heyns said the … [read more]

[JURIST] The UK High Court of Justice [official website] on Thursday ruled [Judgment, PDF] 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) [official website] unjustifiably interfered [Guardian … [read more]

[JURIST] A group of Republican members of the US House of Representatives [official website] filed a memorandum [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut [official website] on Wednesday, asking the district court to stay a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act … [read more]

[JURIST] UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang [official profile] on Thursday urged [press release] 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 … [read more]

[JURIST] The International Trade Committee (INTA) of the European Parliament [official websites] on Thursday rejected [press release] the proposed Anti-Countefeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) [text, PDF] 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 … [read more]

[JURIST] Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt [official website] on Thursday appealed a ruling by a district court judge that held that an abortion ultrasound bill [HB 2780, PDF] is unconstitutional. In his appeal, Pruitt argued [Tulsa World report] that the district court's ruling prevents women from obtaining important medical information … [read more]

[JURIST] 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 [official website]. The lawyer argued that there is no evidence to verify [AP report] that the new practices disproportionately affect minorities, … [read more]

[JURIST] 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 [AP report] to protest the false accusations that have led to his … [read more]

[JURIST] A former army chief of staff and ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame [official profile] on Thursday accused the president of having ordered the killing of his preceding president, Juvenal Habyarimana [Britannica profile]. During his testimony in a Johannesburg court assessing his own attempted murder in 2010 in South … [read more]

[JURIST] Two reports were presented Thursday to the UN Human Rights Council [official website] to urge for greater protection for the right to life of journalists [press release] and media freedom. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue [official website; report, PDF] and Special Rapporteur on … [read more]

[JURIST] Presiding judge of the Cook County Chancery Division [official webiste], Moshe Jacobius, agreed Thursday to combine two lawsuits that claim the state's ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is unconstitutional. The two suits [JURIST report] were filed at the end of May against Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] … [read more]

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