[JURIST] In Friday's international brief, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro [official profile] told a press conference Thursday that despite a harshly worded 'letter to the people' [official text] released by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun [official profile] Wednesday, Japan would not respond aggressively to the current dispute over the ownership of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets; Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda Hiroyuki [official profile] mentioned the International Court of Justice [official website] as a possible solution to the diplomatic dispute. Disputes cannot be considered by the ICJ unless both parties agree to the jurisdiction of the court. South Korea [government website] has made no announcement concerning its positon on using the ICJ. Roh's letter announced a 'diplomatic war' against Japan and included references to Japan's current consideration of a military force capable of being deployed outside Japanese territory and warned that the resumption of military power was reminiscent of Japan's actions in the Russo-Japanese war, in which Japan imposed a colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. View South Korea's Dokdo issues page. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Japan and South Korea [JURIST Country news archives]. The Japan Times has local coverage.
In other international legal news …
- An opposition candidate in the upcoming Zimbabwe [government website] national elections was arrested Thursday while distributing campaign literature in her district. Trudy Stevenson [official information], a member of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change [official website], currently holds the Harare North seat in Zimbabwe's Parliament [government website]. She was arrested while passing out campaign flyers with her son and five other party supporters when police arrested her for 'obstructing traffic.' Stevenson was held for six hours and had to pay an admission of guilt fine before she could leave. The arrest is one of many that have occurred, targeting members of the MDC opposition party in the build-up to the March 31 election. Harare was the scene of a near riot Thursday when police forces openly aided members of the ruling Zanu PF party attempting to place posters on the commuter busses, even allowing members to threaten drivers that tried to refuse. Human Rights Watch recently published a report [JURIST report] questioning the fairness of the upcoming elections, alleging that the government had undertaken a systematic effort to harrass and discredit opposition candidates. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST Country news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.
- Deposed president of Kyrgyzstan [embassy website], Askar Akayev [official profile], spoke for the first time Friday following his reported flight from the nation during sever protests that ultimately resulted in the populace storming government buildings Thursday. In a statement released to the government news agency Kabar, Akayev denied that he had resigned and stated that his absence was temporary. Following several conflicting reports [JURIST report], former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev announced Thursday that the Kyrgyzstan parliament had appointed him as interim President and Prime Minister. Bakiev announced that fresh elections would be held in June, but did not announce a specific date. Chairman-in-Office Dimitrij Rupel of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe travelled to the region Friday, planning to discuss possible solutions to the revolution and a restoration of peace and democracy in the country. Read the latest OSCE press release on Kyrgyzstan. BBC News has more.
- A UN report on last month's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [BBC report] has called for an international investigation into the murder, saying that Lebanon's own internal investigation was flawed. Lebanese President Emile Lahoud responded to news of the report by encouraging the UN to "do what is necessary" to find the killers. Syria's ambassador to the UN expressed displeasure over the report however, calling it one-sided rhetoric and stating that the internal investigation was sufficient. Deputy Irish Police Commissioner Peter Fitzgerald authored the report, stating that the Lebanese investigation lacked sufficient support and resources to create an actual finding of fact. Reuters has more.