[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, Nepal Bar Association [profession website] president Shambhu Thapa has called on King Gyanedra [official profile] to relinquish his position as chairman of the Council of Ministers, which would effectively remove Gyanedra's direct control of the Nepalese government. Thapa criticized the five months of direct, monarchial rule since the February 1 declaration of a state of emergency [JURIST report] as unfruitful, and encouraged Gyanedra to remain involved only as the "last custodian" of the Nepalese government. Thapa also scorned comments made last week by former Chief of Army Staff Sachit Shamsher Rana, who had called for political parties to be declared "anti-national elements." JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. NepalNews.com has local coverage.
In other international legal news …
- A highly controversial postal reform bill that will privatize the entirety of the Japan Postal Service [official profile] narrowly passed through the Japanese House of Representatives [government website] Tuesday, in a 233 – 228 vote. The bill will create four independent entites that will compete to provide mail in Japan with increased efficiency and speed. The over 300,000 employees of the Japan Post opposed the bill for fear of losing their jobs, and the status of those employees as a strong voting block, with significant sway in rural areas influenced politicians concerned with maintaining support. While a political victory for Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official profile], the vote revealed a larger than expected split among his own Liberal Democratic Party [official website]. The bill will be presented to the upper house for approval, but a rejection there can still be overridden by another approval in the House. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Japan. Japan Today has local coverage.
- International press rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website] has appealed to international icon Nelson Mandela [ANC profile] for assistance in fighting the extreme restrictions against journalists in place in Zimbabwe. RSF Secretary-General Robert Menard said that the organization was left no other option but to appeal for Mandela's help in light of recent tightening of the already strict journalist laws. Zimbabwe recently increased the jail time [JURIST report] applicable to journalists found to be "publishing falsehoods" from 15 to 20 years incarceration. RSF asked Mandela in a letter to use his status to ease those restrictions, which have already resulted in over 100 arrests in the last three years. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.
- Ahmadou Seck, head of the Electoral Unit of the UN Mission to Burundi [official website], as well as Paul Ngarambe, chairman of the National Independent Electoral Commission, praised the national elections held Monday in Burundi for the 100 seats in the National Assembly. While both organizations reported minor disturbances and irregularities in the voting process, neither reported any incidents that would alter the outcome of the result. Official results are slated for release Wednesday, but the preliminary tally [Reuters report] puts the Forces for the Defence of Democracy party, which represents the nation's Hutu ethnic majority, in the lead, with between 60-80 of the 100 available seats. The National Assembly and the Senate, which is scheduled to be elected later in July, will elect a new president for Burundi by a 2/3 majority no later than August 19. The FDD majority in the National Assembly, combined with the previous majority obtained in the Council elections [JURIST report], whose members will elect the Senators, virtually guarantees a Hutu will be elected president. AllAfrica.com has local coverage.