World Legal News Round Up for Saturday,  3 March 2018 News
World Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 3 March 2018

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

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Friday warned [press release] Syria that air strikes, shelling and use of toxic agents in Eastern Ghouta likely constitute war crimes.
Mexico’s Lower House of Congress [official website, in Spanish] approved [vote record, in Spanish] a bill [text, PDF, in Spanish] Thursday that would place regulations on crowdfunding and cryptocurrency firms.
Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) [official website, in Portuguese] on Wednesday upheld [materials, in Portuguese] the 2012 changes to the Brazilian Floral Code [text, PDF, in Portuguese] that reduced protection for rainforests in Brazil.
A group of rights experts from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] on Wednesday demanded that the US government release Guantánamo detainee Ammar al Baluchi, a 40-year-old Pakistan national, stating that his detention the center is “arbitrary and breaches international law.”

According to a written opinion [text, PDF] from the group in January, al Baluchi was arrested in April 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan, for his alleged association with Al-Qaida [Britannica backgrounder], and then transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006.

A UN expert on foreign debt, finance and rights warned [press release] the Human Rights Council [official website] Wednesday that various austerity measures can lead to serious human rights consequences and should no longer be ignored.
A UN rights expert told [press release] the Human Rights Council that states are obligated to protect human rights defenders who assist hundreds of thousands of people who are on the move each year.
The UN Special Rapporteur on torture expressed concerns [press release] Tuesday after allegations of torture and human rights violations committed by Turkish police arose following the end of his visit in December 2016.

According to Nils Melzer, those suspected of being involved with the Gülenist Movement or the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party are allegedly subject to brutal interrogation techniques, such as beatings, electrical shock, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, sexual assault and threats to elicit confessions or incriminating statements against others.

Those allegedly responsible have not been held accountable as the state of emergency decree [text, Art.

The European Commission on Wednesday released a draft agreement [text, PDF] for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Germany’s Federal Administrative Court [official website, in German] in Leipzig ruled [press release, in German] Tuesday that cities have the right to restrict the use of some diesel vehicles based on emissions.

The ruling comes from decisions in two separate cases where Environmental Action Germany (DUH) [advocacy website, in German] originally brought suit in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf, accusing cities of failing to address issues of air pollution.

[JURIST] The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] said [statement] Monday that detaining migrants and asylum-seekers violated international law unless it is done as a last resort.

In the Revised Deliberation Number 5 [text, PDF] released at the beginning of February, the organization said, “The irregular entry and stay in a country by migrants should not be treated as a criminal offence.” The deliberation goes on to say that migrants and asylum-seekers have, at the very least, the same rights as detainees in the criminal justice system.

The Communist Party of China (CCP) [party website] Central Committee on Sunday announced [Xinhua report] plans to abolish the presidential term limits, which would permit President Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely.

The CCP proposed removing Article 79 from China’s constitution [text], which states “[t]he term of office of the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China …

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Monday urged [press release] the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council to end the “pernicious use” of the veto.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Monday accused [HRW report] Egyptian authorities of escalating arbitrary arrests against political opponents.

According to HRW, the arrests, which took place in late January to February, are part of a government strategy to quell political protests ahead of the next presidential election to be held in late March.