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] A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Virginia [official website] certified a class action lawsuit [text, PDF] on Friday challenging Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. "The amended proposed class ... meets the requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation," US District Judge Michael Urbanski said in his ruling. "Accordingly, the court will enter an appropriate order this day granting plaintiffs' motions and certifying the class." With class certification, the plaintiffs will now...
[JURIST] The African Union (AU) [official website] called [official statement] Saturday for African countries to "speak with one voice" against the trials of sitting heads of state in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. The statement comes in relation to the trial of two current heads of the Kenyan government, Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto [ICC case materials]. The AU asked the UN Security Council [official website] to postpone the trials while the Kenyan leaders...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [advocacy websites] issued a joint statement [press release] Friday calling on the Nepal Parliament to reject amnesty legislation that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court [official website]. The Ordinance on Truth, Reconciliation and Disappearances [text, PDF] was struck down [JURIST report] earlier this month for provisions that would have afforded amnesty to some human rights violators. The Supreme Court directed parliament to repeal the ordinance or...
[JURIST] The trial of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile] for inciting the murder of several protesters resumed on Saturday. Morsi appeared [Ahram report] with 14 co-defendants before the court for the alleged acts committed at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace in December 2012. Morsi continues to reject the charges by claiming the court has no jurisdiction because he is still the lawful president of Egypt. Morsi's lawyer argues that Morsi is entitled, as the rightful president, to have the...
[JURIST] A New York state judge on Friday approved an $8.5 billion settlement between Bank of America (BOA) [corporate website] and almost two dozen mortgage securities investors, holding that the 2011 agreement was reached in good faith. In a 54-page ruling, New York State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick found that BNY Mellon, a party in the matter, did not abuse its discretion [NYT report] when entering into the settlement agreement. American International Group (AIG), one of the country's largest...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [press release] the Canadian government on Friday to institute an independent national inquiry into violence against women in the country. HRW also urged the government to establish greater accountability for cases of police misconduct. HRW found that the police have failed to adequately protect indigenous women and girls from violent attacks, specifically in Northern British Columbia. Furthermore, HRW's February 2013 report [text] found that the British Columbia police were exhibiting abusive behavior...
[JURIST] The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] spokesperson Rupert Colville on Friday voiced extreme concern [press release] about the increasing amount of violent attacks on members of the media in Egypt. Many attacks came on Saturday when journalists were attempting to report stories on the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution [JURIST backgrounder]. Some of these journalists suffered injuries from live fire from both opponents of the government and police. On Wednesday the Egyptian Prosecutor-General charged [JURIST...
[JURIST] A Pakistani court on Friday rejected a request by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile] to lift his travel ban and allow him to go abroad for medical treatment. Instead the court issued [AP report] an arrest warrant for the former leader, although the warrant is "bailable," meaning that Musharraf can avoid jail by paying a bail sum of 2.5 million rupees (about $20,000). The court claimed [AFP report] in its decision that it did not have the...
[JURIST] The Maine Supreme Court [official website] ruled [text, PDF] on Thursday that a school violated Maine's Human Rights Act [text; GLAAD backgrounder] when it refused to allow a transgender fifth-grader, Nicole Maines, to use the girls' bathroom. Maines had been using the girls' bathroom throughout elementary school until the family of another student complained amid acts of bullying. At this point, the school directed Maines to use a staff bathroom. Maines' family brought this action, under the anonymous name...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Connecticut [official website] on Thursday upheld [ruling, PDF] the constitutionality of the state's new gun control law [text, PDF], while still acknowledging the Second Amendment [Cornell LII backgrounder] rights of gun owners. The new law, enacted in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, expanded a previous ban on assault weapons and introduced a prohibition on high-capacity ammunition magazines. In his opinion, Judge...
[JURIST] The High Court [official website] of Kenya on Friday refused to stop the arrest [docket] of journalist Walter Barasa, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for allegedly disrupting the prosecution in the crimes against humanity case of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive]. The ICC issued an arrest warrant [text] in October upon suspicion that Barasa was attempting to sabotage the prosecution's investigation by intimidating or harassing witnesses that are...
[JURIST] The UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Friday called for an investigation [press release] into torture allegations against Ukraine following widespread arrests of protesters, which have since been offered amnesty. Dmytro Bulatov, a leader of the opposition groups, was released after being detained for more than a week showing visible signs of mistreatment, including wounds to his face and hands. In the statement, a spokesperson for the OHCHR renewed calls for further talks...
[JURIST] The European Court of Justice [official website] on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit contesting an EU regulation [text, PDF] that bans some short selling practices to increase financial market stability. The regulations were enacted to increase the transparency of short positions held by investors in certain EU securities, reduce settlement risks, ensure member states can intervene to reduce risks arising from short selling and credit default swaps, and ensure coordination between member states and the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA)...
[JURIST] UN rights experts on Thursday welcomed [press release] the January 21 decision of the Supreme Court of India [official website] commuting [order, PDF] the death sentences of 13 individuals following a finding that their petitions for mercy were unreasonably delayed. The court also commuted the death sentences [JURIST report] of two other individuals on the ground of mental illness. In addition, the court requires all death row prisoners receive regular medical checkups, including mental health status. The new death...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday released a report [text, PDF] detailing abuses against gay and bisexual men at the hands of police in Kyrgyzstan [HRW profile]. The report, entitled, "They Told Us We Deserved This: Police Violence against Gay and Bisexual Men in Kyrgyzstan," found that gay and bisexual men have been subjected to abuses including physical, sexual and psychological violence, arbitrary detention and extortion under the threat of violence by police officers, despite the decriminalization...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Thursday that Syrian authorities deliberately demolished residential neighborhoods with explosives and bulldozers in Damascus and Hama over the last year. The report found that the demolitions are related to the violent conflict in Syria between the government and opposition forces. HRW officials found the correlation between the armed conflict and the demolitions from eyewitness testimonies, statements from government officials and the military's involvement in the demolitions. HRW believes this destruction...
[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (ACLU) and the Center for Reproductive Rights [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [press release] on Wednesday in Alaska Superior Court [official website] challenging a new regulation that seeks to prevent Medicaid [official website] from covering elective abortions. In 2001 the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the state must cover a full range of reproductive health rights under its Medicaid program, including medically necessary abortion. The new regulation, which is...
[JURIST] A court in Bangladesh sentenced 14 men to death on Thursday for their involvement in a 2004 arms smuggling operation. Among the individuals sentenced [Al Jazeera report] was Matiur Rahman Nizami [JURIST news archive], the leader of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami [official website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] party. In addition, the 14 included former deputy interior minister, Lutfozzaman Babar, and a former director general of the National Security Intelligence, retired Major General Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury. In 2004 the government seized ten truck...
[JURIST] The Pakistan Supreme Court [official website] dismissed [text, PDF] former military leader Pervez Musharraf's [BBC profile] petition on Thursday to review its 2009 verdict [JURIST report] declaring the 2007 imposed emergency as unconstitutional. The 14 justices, led by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani [JURIST report], dismissed the petition stating that it was barred by length of time since the original ruling. The court also found that Musharraf's grounds for appeal do not fall within the purview or review jurisdiction....
[JURIST] The Office of the Federal Public Defender of Colorado [official website] and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a motion [text, PDF] on behalf of terror suspect Jamshid Muhtorov Wednesday to suppress evidence the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] obtained from surveillance conducted pursuant to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) [text, PDF]. Muhtorov, a 35-year-old Uzbekistan refugee was arrested [AP report] in January 2012 and has been indicted on charges of providing and...

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