JURIST Legal News

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The Jordanian parliament [official website] on Tuesday narrowly voted to repeal Article 308 [text, in Arabic] of the penal code, which permitted rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims. Rights groups applauded the decision, calling it a step forward in ending violence against women [Reuters report], especially in Middle Eastern countries where girls and women were offered as gifts to their rapists to avoid family shame. Though the Jordanian Cabinet voted to revoke [JURIST report] the law in...
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed [press release] legislation imposing new sanctions against Russia and limiting the president's ability to ease existing sanctions. The legislation [HR 3364 materials] also imposes sanctions against North Korea and Iran. In a statement [press release], Trump said that while he supports "tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior ... this legislation is significantly flawed." A separate White House statement criticized the legislation for limiting the president's authority:Still, the bill remains...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] found former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty [order, PDF] of criminal contempt on Monday. The court found Arpaio did not comply with a court order to stop detaining Latinos based solely on their immigration status. The matter was presented before Judge Susan Bolton, a senior federal judge with the District Court for the District of Arizona. Bolton found that Arpaio, "willfully violated the order by...
[JURIST] The US Department of the Treasury [official website] imposed sanctions [press release] against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Monday. The sanctions will freeze all of Maduro's assets that are subject to US jurisdiction and will prohibit any US citizens from doing business with him. As a de facto result of being sanctioned, Maduro will also be barred from accessing US financial and commercial systems. The sanctions came one day after Venezuela's controversial election [JURIST report] for a new assembly...
The French government and the Calais region are to furnish water and sanitation to migrants in the area, France's highest administrative court, the Conseil D'Etat [official website, in French] ruled [judgment, in French] Monday. The county has said that it will also open two new reception centers about an hour from Calais in Bailleul and Troisva. These immigrants are primarily on their way to the UK but face rough conditions that were heavily criticized in the "Jungle" migrant camp [JURIST...
The UK High Court [official website]rejected [judgment, PDF] a "crime of aggression" allegation Monday against former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official website] by a former Iraq General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat. The two justices dismissed the claim as UK law does not recognize a crime of aggression:The existence of such difficulties cannot in any way justify the domestic courts of England and Wales departing from the clear principle that it is for Parliament to make such conduct criminal...
A group of UN experts for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged [press release] the government of the Philippines on Monday to address reports of human rights violations that include threats against indigenous people, murder and the summary execution of children. The experts stated in a joint call for action, "We are shocked by the increasing levels of violence, killings, intimidation and harassment being suffered by human rights defenders—including those protecting indigenous peoples—trade...
An Austrian court in the District of Feldkirch [official website] found a man guilty of violating the country's anti-Nazi laws on Monday for his claims that the mass killing of Jews in gas chambers is a fictitious story. Austria's Prohibition Act of 1947 [materials, in German] provided a legal framework for the denazification of Austria. In 1992 it was amended to prohibit Holocaust denial and the belittlement of the atrocities carried out by the Nazi party. The 34-year-old man [AP...
[JURIST] Violent protests in Venezuela broke out on Sunday as the nation held a controversial election for a new assembly that would have the power to rewrite the nation's constitution. Activists clashed [Reuters report] with security forces in retaliation against the bill, resulting in at least seven deaths. Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro's [Reuters profile] has claimed that the new Constituent Assembly, which would elect 527 members, is the only solution [JURIST report] to bring an end to the anti-government protests...
[JURIST] Foreign ministers from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates stated on Sunday that the four nations are open to dialogue with Qatar regarding the 13 demands [AP, materials] imposed against the Gulf state early last month. The demands against Qatar were prompted [Reuters report] by allegations that Qatar condones and funds terrorist activity. During a joint news conference held in Manama, Bahrain's foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, called on Qatar to "announces its sincere...
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered the US [statement, in Russian] to reduce its number of diplomats in the country to 455 and evacuate two buildings used by the embassy. The Ministry said the change is in response to pending US sanctions [HR 3364 materials] against Russia, which US President Donald Trump said Friday [press release] he intended to sign into law. It also said the US sanctions would violate the UN Charter [text], and that previous US expulsions of Russian...
In a 98-2 vote [vote count, text], the US Senate [official website] on Thursday passed H.R. 3364 [text, PDF], a bill that imposes new sanctions on Russia. This development comes two days after the House of Representatives [official website] overwhelmingly passed [JURIST report] the bill. The sanctions imposed on Russia are for, among others, human rights abuses, malicious cyber-hacking and undermining cybersecurity, providing weapons to Syria, and undermining the democratic process and threatening peace, security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of...
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] resigned from office [LA Times report] on Friday after the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] issued a unanimous ruling [order, PDF], earlier the same day, disqualifying him from office. Sharif was before the Court due to allegations of corruption surfacing after the Panama Papers [BBC backgrounder] leak. The leaked documents suggested that Sharif's children had offshore assets that were not disclosed in the family's wealth statement and led to further investigation by...
[JURIST] A Mendoza court sentenced four former federal judges to life in prison for crimes against humanity carried out during Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship. The judges were originally tried [AP report] as accomplices for failure to investigate [Mendoza Post report, in Spanish] the kidnapping, torture and murder of dissenters. The prosecutors eventually charged the judges as principals arguing that the judges' "inaction on the petitions preceded the disappearance of more than 20 dissidents." The sentence has been applauded by several human...
[JURIST] The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] stating that same-sex relationships are still illegal in 72 countries around the world. The report identifies these 72 nations as "criminalising States" or countries where gay individuals can face legal ramifications if their relationships are disclosed. Out of these 72 countries, anti-gay legislation is applied equally to men and women in 45 nations. The report also states that four nations apply the...
[JURIST] Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, the leader of a militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), turned himself in to UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) [official website] on Wednesday. The DRC took out a warrant [Reuters report] for Sheka's arrest in 2011 after his forces allegedly raped at least 387 civilians during a four-day period in 2010. The militia is also accused of murdering 70 civilians between 2010 and 2015. The UN sanctioned [UN database] Sheka...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Demoractic People's Republic of Korea [official website], Tomas Ojea Quintana [official profile], is asking [press release] North and South Korea to open discussions concerning human rights following his second visit to South Korea. Quintana argued the proposed the resumption of communication between the two nations [NYT report] will present an opportunity for more open discussions on not only military issue, but humanitarian ones as well. Quintana's recommendation comes after a...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed an amicus curiae brief [PDF] on Wednesday urging the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a man who claims he was fired for his sexual orientation. Donald Zarda alleges that his employment as a skydiving instructor with Altitude Express Inc was terminated [Reuters report] after he told a customer that he was gay. The DOJ argues that Title VII of the...
The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [press release, PDF] Wednesday in favor of Austria and Slovenia's deportation of refugees to Croatia, thereby requiring asylum-seekers to return to the first EU member state in which they arrive. In upholding these so-called Dublin Regulations, the court permitted nations to deport refugees who entered through an EU border state. In making this decision, the court also noted that under the Schengen Borders Code, states may also permit non-EU refugees that fail...
The US House of Representatives [official website] approved a bill [text] Tuesday regarding sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, with a vote [vote record] of 419-3. The sanctions against Iran are for the country's ballistic missile program, terrorism related activities and human rights violations. The sanctions against Russia are for human rights abuses, undermining cybersecurity, and providing weapons to Syria, and strengthen the sanctions under the Ukraine Freedom Act of 2014 [text, PDF]. The North Korean sanctions expand the...

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