JURIST Legal News

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[JURIST] The Office of the Prosecutor [official website] at the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday requested that the court indefinitely delay the proceedings in the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC materials], which was originally scheduled for February 5. Prosecutors reportedly claim that the Kenyan government has repeatedly interfered with the proceedings [AP report] by threatening witnesses and restricting access to information material to the case. Prosecutors allege Kenyatta is criminally responsible as an indirect co-perpetrator...
[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] reached a tentative settlement [press release] Wednesday with Google [corporate website] in connection to an ongoing EU antitrust investigation of the company. Google faces [NYT report] USD $5 billion in fines over accusations that the company's search engine is blocking competitors' content and promoting Google services. Under the settlement Google would guarantee that during European searches whenever Google promotes its own specialized search services on a search page the services of three rivals will...
[JURIST] The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [official website] on Wednesday urged the Russian government to repeal legislation banning the dissemination of homosexual "propaganda" to minors. Reports indicate that the CRC is specifically concerned [AP report] that the law's broad definitions of "propaganda" will lead to persecution of the nation's gay community, which includes younger gay rights activists. Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian] endorsed the law in June. The law imposes fines of...
[JURIST] The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [official website] released a report [text, PDF] Wednesday condemning the Holy See [official website] for its handling of allegations regarding sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests. The report calls on the Vatican to remove all priests who have, or are suspected of committed acts of child abuse, and for the Vatican to turn over all such individuals to relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution. In...
[JURIST] The Scottish Parliament [official website] on Tuesday passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill [text, PDF], in a 105 to 18 vote [minutes, text]. The final vote in favor of the bill came after a detailed consideration of the bill by parliamentary committees. Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the right to enter into civil partnerships, but this law will allow same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed by individuals and religious entities that affirm their desire [BBC report] to...
[JURIST] The UN on Monday released a report [materials] to the Security Council [official website], which highlights the severe suffering faced by children in Syria during the period between March 2011 and November 2013. The report states that the Syrian government and military allies have killed and tortured [UN News Centre report] extensive numbers of children, while opposition forces have recruited children to aid in combat and have summarily executed children as well. Other violations against children during the country's...
[JURIST] Kuwaiti Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee Fawzi Odah filed suit on Monday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] alleging that he should be freed from prison upon US withdrawal from Afghanistan, citing international law's mandate that prisoners of war be released once a conflict has ended. Odah has based his claim on US President Barack Obama's State of the Union address [text] last week in which he stated that "by the end of...
[JURIST] European countries are violating the human rights of people trying to change their legal gender, forcing these individuals to undergo, among other things, invasive surgery and sterilization in order to change their legal status, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] alleged in a report [text, PDF] released Tuesday. Entitled "The State Decides Who I Am," AI details the case law and current practices across the European continent from France to Finland, illustrating state discrimination and medical requirements mandated by several...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Monday granted [order, PDF] a motion [text, PDF] to put on hold a ruling upholding a California law that bans licensed therapists from working to change the sexual orientation of a minor. The order contained no reasoning, stating only that a 90-day hold would be put into affect to allow a petition for a writ of certiorari to the US Supreme Court, and will be continued if...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana [official website] declared Monday that Wednesday's scheduled execution of 70-year-old Christopher Sepulvado by lethal injection will be delayed for 90 days. Sepulvado was charged with the murder of his six-year-old stepson in 1993. Last week, Louisiana Department of Corrections officials expanded their execution protocol to include a two-drug mixture of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. Defense attorneys for Sepulvado argued a delay is justified...
[JURIST] Thailand's Democrat party, the country's main opposition political party, petitioned the Thai Constitutional Court [official website, English] Tuesday to annul the results of last week's national elections, alleging that the polls were unconstitutional. The petition also seeks [AFP report] the dissolution of the ruling party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile] and to ban party executives from holding political office for five years. Yingluck called Sunday's elections an attempt to diffuse some of the nation's political tension, but...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Tuesday encouraged [press release] Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai [official website] to refuse to sign a law passed by parliament that they say would deny women protection from domestic violence and forced marriage. Article 26 of the proposed criminal procedure law prohibits authorities from speaking with relatives of criminal defendants. In the case of domestic abuse, HRW claims it may be more difficult for women to seek justice if the law goes into...
[JURIST] A French court opened trial Tuesday against former Rwandan intelligence chief Pascal Simbikangwa in the country's first trial of a suspect in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide [BBC backgrounder]. Simbikangwa, 54, is charged [Reuters report] with arming and directing Hutu extremists in the violence that claimed the lives of an estimated half a million ethnic Tutsi. He was arrested in 2008 while in hiding on the French island of Mayotte. A paraplegic since 1986, Simbikangwa faces a potential life sentence...
[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday criticized [press release] a recently enacted Saudi Arabian counterterrorism law that it claims will entrench existing patterns of human rights violations. "This disturbing new law confirms our worst fears," said Said Boumedouha, AI's Middle East and North Africa Program Deputy Director. The Law for the Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing [text, PDF, in Arabic], which went into effect February 1, has been condemned by the advocacy group for its vague definitions...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo [official profile] on Friday urged [press release] the island nation of Seychelles to establish a National Action Plan to combat human trafficking, and to hasten to pass the draft anti-trafficking bill currently circulating in its legislature. During her week-long visit to Seychelles, Ezeilo noted [press release] that Seychelles has taken numerous steps towards addressing the issue of human trafficking, including the ratification of numerous...
[JURIST] Detroit [official website] on Friday filed a lawsuit in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] seeking to invalidate the $1.44 billion of debt the city sold to finance by establishing "sham" service corporations to facilitate the debt sales, and claiming and that all contracts or obligations connected to the debt are also invalid. Detroit claims the pension debt violated the borrowing limits [Reuters report] imposed on the city by the state of Michigan...
[JURIST] Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour [BBC profile] on Sunday ordered the creation of a higher court that would be able to hear appeals of military court verdicts. Under the new Egyptian constitution, civilians may be tried in military courts [AFP report] for cases involving direct attacks on military personnel or military installations. Thousands of civilian cases have been referred to military courts since early 2011, when the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began. The practice has faced opposition from human...
[JURIST] Egypt's Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat [Egypt Independent profile] on Monday referred Muslim Brotherhood [party website; JURIST news archive] leader Mohammed Badie [BBC news archive] along with 50 others to the criminal court. Badie and the other Muslim Brotherhood members are accused of inciting their supporters to resist security forces [AP report] and spreading chaos in the country. The prosecution called the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist organization" [Daily News Egypt report] for its role in the protests at Rabbaa Al-Adaweya...
[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Friday asked [memorandum, PDF] the federal courts to dismiss a case brought by the Miami Herald [media website] demanding to know how much money the government spent to build a prison facility at Guantanamo. The news service requested this figure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text, PDF], but the Obama administration argues that this information is classified under Executive Order 13526 [text], as it pertains to intelligence activity....
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Monday urged [press release] the Cambodian government to take steps to stop the threats and intimidation of garment factory workers who are seeking to assert their labor rights through the formation of unions. Currently, Cambodia's garment industry represents USD $5 billion per year in exports and supports 400,000 jobs. Factory owners and managers reportedly use tactics such as threats, firing and temporary employment contracts to keep their employees from forming labor unions....

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