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International brief ~ Zimbabwe opposition to boycott opening of parliament
International brief ~ Zimbabwe opposition to boycott opening of parliament

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, the leading opposition party in Zimbabwe [government website], the Movement for Democratic Change [official website] has announced its intention to boycott the opening of the Zimbabwean Parliament [government website] Thursday morning by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile]. The MDC, which challenged the recent national elections as unfair and fraudulent [JURIST report], has 41 members in the Parliament, leaving Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party [official website] greater than two-thirds representation, which gives it the power to approve legislation and make amendments to the national constitution without worrying about opposition interference. Zanu PF officials and Mugabe have already announced their intent to amend the constitution and hold votes on several key issues, including restoring a national Senate, the heavily contested NGO bill [JURIST report], and a constitutional amendment to liquidate all private land ownership and convert all productive farmland to government control [JURIST report]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

In other international legal news …

  • Around 50 journalists were arrested Wednesday in Nepal [government website] as the protested press restrictions [JURIST report] put in place by King Gyanendra [official profile]. Since the 1 February declaration of a state of emergency [JURIST report] and the subsequent dissolution of the democratic government, the monarchy has continually tightened the limitations on press freedoms, sometimes even completely severing media agencies access to telephone and internet services. The journalists arrested Wednesday, acting under the auspices of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists [advocacy website] were protesting the continued ban on FM news broadcasts, despite a recent Nepalese Supreme Court [official website] ruling which held that the government order closing down the radio stations was illegal. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal. Nepalnews.com has local coverage.
  • Sudanese Justice Minister Ali Karti gave Sudan's first cabinet level response Wednesday to the announcement on Monday [JURIST report] that the International Criminal Court [official website] has opened a formal investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. Karti affirmed the position that had been taken by non-cabinet government officials [JURIST report], reiterating that the Sudanese government would not hand over any citizens to be tried outside the country. Karti also added that the Sudanese government had yet to receive any official word from the ICC concerning the investigation. Previous statements by junior government officias had indicated that Sudan was searching for a way to work with the ICC while mainaining its opposition to the extradition of any of its citizens. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
  • Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Awaluddin was questioned Wednesday by anti-corruption investigators currently examining allegations of bribery and kickbacks in the General Elections Commission [official website in Bahasa Indonesian] (KPU) of Indonesia [government website in Bahasa Indonesian], where Hamid served as a member. Hamid said he was being quesitoned as a witness, and would not confirm or deny reports that he had been part of the group that had accepted kickbacks while serving on the national electoral body. The chairman of the KPU and three other members have already been charged with accepting bribes and arranging kickbacks to ensure that contracts for voting supplies such as ballots, ballot boxes, ink, and paper went to certain companies. No date has been set for trials at this time. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.