Legal news from Thursday, March 28, 2013

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[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW), [website] on Thursday called [press release] on the government of Sri Lanka to begin its investigation into war crimes by examining the role of its own Deputy Minister of Resettlement. HRW alleged that Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna, is a former leader … [read more]

[JURIST] The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it is withdrawing from a UN convention intended to fight droughts in Africa. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] claimed [CTV report] the move was necessary as the convention was "too bureaucratic" and that only one fifth of the CAN $350,000 contributed … [read more]

[JURIST] Human rights lawyers on Tuesday filed an emergency motion [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] alleging that guards at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] have denied drinking water and sufficient clothing to a Yemeni prisoner. The motion was filed only a day … [read more]

[JURIST] A Thai court on Thursday sentenced 37-year-old Akachai Hongkangwan to three years and four months in prison for violating Thailand's lese majeste law. The lese majeste law found in Article 112 of Thailand's Penal Code [text] allows for anyone who "defames, insults or threatens" a member of the royal … [read more]

[JURIST] An appeals court in Bahrain on Thursday vacated convictions for 21 medics who were arrested at a hospital during anti-government protests in 2011. The group of medics were originally charged [Al Jazeera report] with taking part in unauthorized demonstrations after treating protesters [BBC report] who were injured by police … [read more]

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] ruled Wednesday that police cannot use general search warrants to acquire text messages from a service provider's database. In a 5-2 decision [judgment], the court found that text messages are private communications and cannot be intercepted by police without special wiretap authorization … [read more]

[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Christof Heyns [official profile] on Monday urged [statement] the Indonesian government to restrict the use of capital punishment to comply with their international human rights obligations. On March 14, Malawian national Adami Wilson was executed by firing squad after being convicted on … [read more]

[JURIST announcement] As I'm sure you're aware by now, we're nearing the end of our Spring 2013 Fundraising Drive. Although we've only got 3 and half days left, we're still well short of our goal. So, if you can afford as little as $10 to support JURIST's mission to document … [read more]

[JURIST] Russia, pursuant to its attempt to crack down on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within its borders, on Wednesday raided the Moscow headquarters of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Transparency International [advocacy websites]. The most recent seizure [Guardian report] came two days after the government raided [NYT report] the local office … [read more]

[JURIST] Judge Katherine Forrest of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a pension plan against JPMorgan Chase (JPM) [corporate website; JURIST news archive]. The lawsuit alleges that JPM engaged in risky business … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled unanimously Wednesday in Millbrook v. US [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) [28 USC § 1346] and exceptions [28 USC § 2680(h)] to it, waive the immunity of prison guards who commit intentional torts that are within … [read more]

[JURIST] Bahrain lawyer Jassim Sarhan confirmed Tuesday that 13 pro-democracy activists were sentenced to 10 years in jail. The sentences [AP report] arise from attacks by the activists on police officers during recent protests. The activists are among dozens convicted of playing a role in the uprising. This sentence comes … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday in Comcast v. Behrend [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that judges can reach the merits of an underlying claim in determining whether to certify a class under Rule 23(b) [Cornell LII backgrounder]. In doing so, the court reversed the US Court of … [read more]

[JURIST] Judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Wednesday sentenced [judgment, PDF] two former Bosnian Serb police officers each to 22 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the war that spanned from 1992-95. Former interior minister, Mico Stanisic, … [read more]

[JURIST] Displaced people in Somalia face the risk of physical abuse and rape, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] report [text, PDF; press release] released Wednesday. HRW noted that the threat of beatings and rape from internal security forces was significant and called for the practices to … [read more]

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