[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, a high-level source in the cabinet of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] has told news agencies in Zimbabwe [government website] that the administration has decided to push forward legislation that would nationalize all private productive farmland in the nation. The source said that in addition to creating a new cabinet level department to oversee the land acquisition, the government will also seek to amend the Zimbabwean Constitution [official text] to abolish almost all private property ownership rights. The proposed legislation is not without opposition in Mugabe's cabinet, and might be changed to reflect viewpoints of the cabinet, but the source said that some version of the law will almost certainly be presented to the Zimbabwean Parliament [government website] next month, since Mugabe is said to strongly support the legislation. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. Zim Online has local coverage.
In other international legal news …
- The Turkish Parliament [government website in Turkish] gave final approval Friday to a new penal code that will take effect in the beginning of June. The penal code reforms were hotly contested within Turkey and throughout Europe [JURIST report], with their approval seen as one of the key steps needed for Turkey [government website] to begin the process of admission to the EU. Some last-minute changes were implemented in the reform code to loosen criminal restrictions on the freedom of the press, but criminal charges are still applicable for criticism of some state institutions and for the publication of material deemed "contrary to fundamental national interests" – such as suggesting that the killings of Armenians in World War I was a genocide. Overall however, most of Europe's governments have viewed the new penal code as a significant step forward for Turkey. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Turkey. BBC News has more.
- US Representative Henry J. Hyde [official profile], chairman of the House Committee on International Relations [government website], introduced a resolution to both the US House and Senate [government websites] that proposes to condemn the history of kidnappings performed by North Korea [government website] as acts of terrorism and grave violations of human rights. The draft resolution argues that North Korea should not be removed from the US State Department's list of states sponsoring terrorism [official website] until the kidnapping issue is resolved. The resolution also proposed that the kidnapping issue be included in the proposed talks in Pyongyang on nuclear disarmament. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of North Korea [JURIST news archive]. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo has more.
- Former Chilean Minister of the Interior and now current Secretary General José Miguel Insulza [official profile] was installed into office as the head of the Organization of American States [official website] Thursday. Insulza was finally elected to office on May 2 following repeated stalemates among the voting members [JURIST report] of the OAS between Insulza and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Ernesto Derbez [official profile in Spanish]. Insulza said his focus would be on implementing procedural reforms in the OAS to ensure that member-states abide by the human rights norms ascribed to by the OAS, as well as increasing the Western Hemisphere's contribution in the fight against international terrorism and the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Read Insulza's acceptance speech. Read the official OAS press release.