[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, Amnesty International [advocacy website] has alleged that efforts by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to provide housing for the hundreds of thousands of residents he forcefully evicted in 2005 have fallen well short of international human rights standards. Amnesty's report [text] presents evidence of a complete failure to protect Zimbabweans made homeless by the Zimbabwean government [official website] and chronicles government interference with attempts to seek judicial decisions regarding the effects of Operation Murambatsvina [ICG report; Wikipedia backgrounder]. Amnesty has also said that Operation Garikai, the housing project allegedly designed to return all of the evicted residents to government built housing, was a public relations cover up [press release] for continued lack of action by agencies and officials. ZimOnline has local coverage.
In other international legal news …
- Indonesian Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh told reporters that two Australian men convicted of drug running and sentenced to death [JURIST report] still have two options left to appeal their sentences. Both men have the right to request a case review by the Indonesian judicial system which would allow a court to reexamine the evidence and documentation of the case to determine if any mistakes were made and if the punishment is proportionate. Both men are also permitted to request clemency from the office of the president. Four other Australians convicted of drug running have had their sentences upgraded to capital punishment as well. The Australian government [official website] has issued a request that the men be spared but said it was "not hopeful." The attorney general termed the request a humanitarian, rather than legal, plea and said that the actual legal decision was in the hands of the Indonesian Supreme Court. Indonesia is one of the few countries that permits capital punishment to be used in non-murder convictions. Indonesian law allows the Supreme Court to adjust sentences of cases on appeal as it sees fit, including upgrading sentences to a higher punishment. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.
- Following its approval of the right to change gender [Hankyoreh report], the South Korean Supreme Court [official website] has set specific legal standards that must be met before an applicant can proceed with the change. Applicants must have gone through medical counseling, be over 20 years of age, be unmarried and without children, and have received the relevant surgery necessary for the physical sex change. Additionally, male to female applicants must have already served their two year compulsory military service or have received a valid exemption. The Court said Friday that the new standards were developed as the number of applications for a change of gender increased rapidly after the decision to make the change legal. The Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.
- A multi-party commission of Kenyan private citizens and legislators has submitted a proposal to speed up the review of the Kenyan draft constitution so that the process can be completed before the general election scheduled for 2007. The team has argued that the bill should be presented before the Kenyan Parliament as a whole, which would need to approve the draft by a 65 percent vote before the document would be presented to the general public for a referendum, rather than being put to review by a commission created by the Kenyan government [official website]. The draft constitution contains provisions weakening the Executive branch's control over Parliament and creating completely independent Electoral and Judicial Service Commissions and was modified after being resoundingly rejected [JURIST report] in a 2005 referendum. Kenya's East African Standard has local coverage