World Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 17 February 2018

World Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 17 February 2018

Here’s the international legal news we covered this week:

[JURIST] A federal grand jury in Washington, DC, indicted [indictment, PDF] 13 Russian citizens and three Russian organizations for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Friday urged [press release] Iran to abide by the international law and immediately halt all executions of people sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under 18.
A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called [press release] on Hungary to review an anti-immigration proposal that would tax and penalize organizations that assist migrants in the country, calling it an “assault on human rights.”

The legislative package requires organizations supporting migration to apply for a license to operate from the Ministry of the Interior and be cleared by the national security services, a process that could span nine months.

Cyril Ramaphosa [Independent, profile] was elected as South Africa’s president in a parliamentary vote [Reuters report] on Thursday after former president Jacob Zuma resigned, ending his nine year presidency, in the face of a pending no-confidence vote.

Ramaphosa is expected to be sworn in later in the day, and to make any changes to the cabinet after an address on Friday.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [HRW news] Wednesday detailing flaws in Germany’s Act to Improve Enforcement of the Law in Social Networks. [PDF, in English].
[JURIST] The UN International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Guatemala Special Prosecutor for Impunity [official websites], a division of Guatemala’s public ministry, on Tuesday arrested former president Álvaro Colom and 10 former cabinet members on corruption and graft charges [official press release, in Spanish], including Alberto Fuentes Knight, the former finance minister who is now the chairman of Oxfam International.

The arrests stem from an investigation [report, PDF, in Spanish] into a bus system known as “Transurbano.” Prosecutors alleged that USD $35 million in government money was misappropriated due to lack of proper legal oversight.

A group of UN experts urged [press release] the US government Wednesday to respect the rights of human defenders after concerns involving Maru Mora Villalpando, a Mexican immigrant activist who campaigns to protect migrants’ rights.

Villalpando, co-founder of a group which highlights human rights concerns about the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, is facing deportation after leading a campaign against human rights standards in the privatized facility.

The Dutch senate [official website, in Dutch] on Tuesday narrowly approved legislation [text, PDF, in Dutch] revising organ donor registration to make automatic registration for organ donor status the default.
[JURIST] The Israeli police force said Monday that they have enough evidence to indict [press release, in Hebrew] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official website], who has allegedly accepted bribes in two separate cases and acted against the interests of the public.
Two UN rights experts expressed serious concern [press release] on Tuesday regarding the arrest and detention of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl who became famous for slapping an Israeli soldier during a physical confrontation.

UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Michael Lynk and Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez [official profiles] demanded Tamimi’s immediate release during the proceedings and called for future hearings to be held in strict accordance with international legal standards.

Four survivors of a church massacre that occurred during the Liberian civil war filed a civil suit [complaint, PDF] in US court Monday against the commander of the armed forces allegedly responsible for the massacre.
An associate of South Korea’s impeached former president Park Geun-hye’s, Choi Soon-sil, was sentenced to 20 years and fined 18 billion won (USD $17 million) for abuse of power and bribery, among other crimes.
A British judge upheld [ruling, PDF] an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years hiding inside Ecuador’s embassy [WP report] in London.
The African National Congress (ANC) [party website], the governing political party in South Africa, called [press release] Tuesday for South African President Jacob Zuma to step down.

The call for resignation comes amidst corruption allegations against Zuma and social and economic issues [WP report] such as unemployment, economic stagnation and water shortages.

A new report [press release, PDF] by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) [advocacy websites] on Monday reveals that 11 of the 31 chief ministers of the various states and union territories of India, representing 35 percent of the chief ministers, have declared criminal charges against themselves in self-sworn affidavits.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Monday unsealed an indictment [text, PDF] against five Venezuelan officials for allegedly participating in an international bribery and money laundering scheme involving Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), a state-owned oil and natural gas company.
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged [press release] Liberia’s new president George Weah [Britannica profile] in a letter [text] Monday to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed during Liberia’s recent civil wars.

Liberia experienced civil war from 1989-1996 and 1999-2003.

A group of UN human rights experts said [press release] Monday that the detention of two Supreme Court judges in the Maldives is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and undermines the court’s ability to work freely and effectively.
Australia and Peru signed a new trade agreement [materials] Monday that will allow for greater access to beef, sugar, almonds and dairy products being sold within Peru.
Asma Jahangir [Bloomberg profile], a leading human rights activist and lawyer in Pakistan, died Sunday after suffering from cardiac arrest in her hometown city of Lahore at the age of 66.

Jahangir dedicated decades of her life towards the pursuit of bringing about human rights changes within the Pakistani government and military, co-founding the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [advocacy website] and serving as the first female leader of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan [official website].

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Monday expressed concern [press release] over the continuing casualties in Yemen.

According to Zeid, “The upsurge in fighting in the south-western Governorate of Taizz is of particular concern.