JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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[JURIST] The President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website], Remigiusz Henczel [official website], on Wednesday presented the annual report [text, PDF] to the UUN General Assembly (UNGA) [official website], claiming [press release] that the UNHRC has achieved significant progress in the last year despite inadequate financial resources. Henczel stated that the UNHRC adopted [UN News Centre report] "107 resolutions, decisions and President's statements" within the last year, and the council's budget has not kept pace with the...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) [official website] on Thursday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a class action lawsuit arising against Google [corporate website] over the company's unapproved scanning and uploading of copyrighted materials. The case revolved primarily around Google's Library Project [Google backgrounder], which uses advanced scanning techniques to provide digital copies of books to participant libraries. The libraries may only access copies of books of which they also have a...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] on Wednesday upheld the 2011 conviction [opinion] of Tarek Mehanna, who was found guilty on four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities. Mehenna was accused of traveling to Yemen and training in a terror camp with the intention of traveling to Iraq to fight against American troops. When he returned to the US was accused of providing material support to al Qaeda. Mehanna's lawyers claimed...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] will not hear a case regarding racial discrimination in home sales and rentals after the matter was settled out of court on Wednesday. Originally scheduled for oral argument December 4, the case of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. [SCOTUSblog materials] presented the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act [text] makes it unlawful "[t]o refuse to sell or...
[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced 12 men to 17 years in prison for their participation in the October protests at Al-Azhar University. The entire demonstration formed at the university in support of deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] who was removed from office in a military-led coup in July. The 12 defendants, all students of Al-Azhar according to the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], were found guilty [BBC report] of thuggery, assault...
[JURIST] Turkey's Parliament [official website] on Wednesday lifted a ban on female lawmakers wearing trousers in the assembly. Republican People's Party Deputy Safak Pavey [Huffington Post backgrounder] brought up the issue last month during a parliamentary debate on women wearing traditional Islamic headscarves in public institutions. Pavey has a prosthethic leg and had been prohibited from wearing trousers based on regulations specifying that women should wear skirt suits. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's [official website, in Turkish; JURIST news archive]...
[JURIST] Hawaiian Governor Neil Abercrombie [official website] on Wednesday signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage [text, PDF]. The new law will take effect December 2 and will make Hawaii the fifteenth US state to legalize same-sex marriage. The Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 seeks to ensure that "same-sex couples are able to take full advantage of federal rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities granted to married opposite sex couples," while also ensuring that religious freedoms are protected by...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Wednesday. In Unite Here Local 355 v. Martin Mulhall [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court addressed the issue of whether an employer and union can violate Section 302 of Labor Management Relations Act [29 USC § 186] by entering into a neutrality agreement. An employee had filed the case against the union, and the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that...
[JURIST] A French appeals court in Paris approved the extradition of Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana on Wednesday, two suspects wanted in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide [UN backgrounder]. Muhayimana, a French citizen since 2010, is accused [Expatica report] of participating in the massacre of ethnic Tutsis in the town of Kibuye, while Musabyimana's alleged crimes took place in Gisenyi, a Rwandan province along the Congolese border. France has previously extradited individuals [Al Jazeera report] charged for participating in...
[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] published [press release] a study [text, PDF] on Wednesday finding that 3,278 Americans are currently serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent offenses. The study, entitled "A Living Death: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses," explains the racial and gender makeup of the inmates, as well as the state of the law that has led to the increasing rate at which nonviolent offenders are being sentenced to life without parole. In...
[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Tuesday emphasized Egypt's need to maintain and respect the right to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest as the country's state of emergency, put in place three months ago, is set to expire. In an official statement released Tuesday evening, the secretary-general stressed [press release] that international human rights standards should serve as the basis for any new legislation, responding to the increasing concern surrounding Egypt's most recent draft protest legislation [JURIST...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday encouraged action [press release] on behalf of UN members at the upcoming 2013 Convention for Conventional Weapons (CCW) [UN website] on November 14-15, chaired by Ambassador Jean-Hughes Simon-Michel of France. The advocacy group supports France's initiative to add fully autonomous weapons to the CCW's work program for 2014. A UN-wide decision to adopt the initiative will be made on Friday. HRW wants an appropriate forum to discuss the impact that fully...
[JURIST] Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] will file a complaint against current authorities alleging that the coup ousting him from his office was a crime. His lawyers told reporters on Wednesday that the former president is planning to file the complaint with the administrative court. Morsi is current awaiting his trial for inciting the murder of several protesters during his presidency after it was adjourned [JURIST report] earlier this month until January. Morsi rejected the...
[JURIST] A Spanish court on Wednesday acquitted three individuals charged with sinking the Bahamas-flagged oil tanker Prestige 11 years ago, finding no criminal liability. The three-judge court determined [AP report] that the ship sank due to poor maintenance and repair rather than the action of the individuals. The named defendants were Captain Apostolos Mangouras, Chief Engineer Nikolaos Argyropoulos and the former head of Spain's Merchant Navy, Jose Luis Lopez. The court found that the ship had been ordered out to...
[JURIST] An Ecuadorian court on Wednesday ordered Chevron [corporate website] to pay USD $9.51 billion in fines and legal fees. This was a significant reduction [RT report] from the previous $18 billion judgment. The lawsuit, brought by the Amazon Defense Front, arises out of Chevron's drilling for oil in Ecuador and the resulting pollution in the Amazon rainforest and surrounding towns. The original judgment was handed down [JURIST report] in 2011, but Chevron has been appealing since and has also...
[JURIST] Texas officials on Tuesday filed a brief [text, PDF] with US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia [official profile] in response to a challenge to the state's new restrictive abortion law [HB 2]. Last week, abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] filed an emergency request asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a previous injunction [JURIST reports] blocking HB 2. The disputed restriction requires that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles...
[JURIST] The UN General Assembly (UNGA) [official website] on Tuesday elected 14 countries [press release] to a three-year term on the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] beginning January 1. The assembly chose Algeria, China, Cuba, France Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Vietnam, Russia and the UK via a secret ballot election. The UNHRC, created by UNGA Resolution 61/251 [text] in 2006, is an inter-governmental body of the UN responsible for...
[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] on Tuesday called on the Turkish government [press release, PDF] to investigate the bombing of two villages that killed 33 civilians in 1994. A unanimous court issued its preliminary judgment, finding Turkey in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights for the death of 33 civilians, the "extremely inadequate investigation," the lack of humanitarian aid to deal with the aftermath of the attack, and the withholding of vital evidence....
[JURIST] The Hawaii Senate [official website] on Tuesday passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage [text, PDF] by a vote of 19-4. The Hawaii House of Representatives [official website] approved the same-sex marriage bill [JURIST report] last week after adding amendments that allow religious organizations to withhold services if the same-sex marriage would be a violation of their beliefs. President Barack Obama praised Hawaii [statement] on Tuesday, saying that the same-sex marriage bill advances the American values of equality and liberty:Whenever...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] on Tuesday sentenced Somali pirate Ahmed Muse Salad to life in prison without parole for his involvement in the deaths of four Americans off the coast of Africa. Salad was among the 19 men who boarded and hijacked a yacht, shooting and killing the yacht's owners, Jean and Scott Adam, and their friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay. Prosecutors had pushed for the death...

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