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 Southern District of New York [official website] ruled [text, PDF] Thursday that New York City violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [official website; text] by failing to accommodate the needs of the city's disabled residents during recent emergencies. The lawsuit certified as a class action [NYT report] in November 2012. According to the opinion it is estimated that there are 889,219 individuals with disabilities, making up 11 percent of...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] warned [press release] Friday that continued violence between militias, rebels and government forces in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] threatens to lead the country into renewed conflict. The high commissioner expressed her apprehension caused by recent violent clashes stating that, "[t]he latest clashes between ex-Seleka forces and various self-defense groups, are extremely worrying. Such violent incidents have heightened tensions among communities, caused splits along...
[JURIST] Lawyers for former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] said Friday they are appealing a Canadian court ruling [text, PDF] that denied his habeas corpus application and held that his placement in a federal penitentiary is lawful. Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, argues that Justice John Rooke of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench [official website] erred both in fact and in law in his interpretation of the International Transfer of Offenders Act [text, PDF]. Edney...
[JURIST] A senior UN official on Thursday urged [UN statement] international donors to provide financial support to Cambodia's UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website], in order to allow it to continue ongoing trials. The ECCC, a hybrid court established in 2001 to try those accused of the Khmer Rouge regime's worst crimes, is funded by voluntary donations [UN News Centre report]. These donations, however, have reportedly decreased in recent years, with...
[JURIST] A European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) [official website] prosecutor in the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office filed an indictment [press release] against 15 defendants on Friday in the EULEX Mitrovica Basic Court [OSCE backgrounder, PDF]. The individuals are accused of war crimes against civilians that occurred at a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) [BBC backgrounder] detention center in Likovac in 1998. The offenses include torture, mistreatment of prisoners and murder. The alleged crimes took place during the...
[JURIST] A Hawaiin judge on Thursday denied a request [complaint, PDF] for a temporary restraining order against lawmakers to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. Oahu Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto said he would hear any challenges made against such legislation if passed by the legislature. The suit was brought by Rep. Bob McDermott [official profile] after Governor Neil Abercrombie [official website] in August called for a special session of the state legislature to consider a same-sex marriage bill. The...
[JURIST] Spain's National Court [official website, in Spanish] in Madrid on Friday ordered nine imprisoned members of the Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] released in compliance with a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruling [judgment; press release, PDF] made last month. In its order, the court determined [AFP report] that the case of the nine ETA prisoners was identical to that of Ines del Rio Prada, who was ordered released...
[JURIST] Croatian lawmakers voted Friday to hold a referendum on December 1 on a same-sex marriage ban in the country. The referendum will decide [AP report] whether the nation's constitution should define marriage as a "union between a woman and a man." The referendum was called after approximately 700,000 people—more than required by law for holding a referendum—signed a petition launched by a conservative group seeking a vote. The question, which would create a de facto ban on same-sex marriage,...
[JURIST] The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [official website] grants disability claims for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by in-service sexual trauma at significantly lower rates than it has granted claims for PTSD arising from other causes, says a report [PDF] released on Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website]. According to the report, between the years of 2008 to 2012, the grant rate for military sexual trauma by the VA has lagged behind the grant...
[JURIST] Alleged Rwandan genocide perpetrator Emmanuel Mbarushimana on Wednesday appealed a decision by Denmark's Supreme Court to extradite him to Rwanda. On appeal before the European Court of Human Rights [official website], Mbarushimana claims that he will be unable to receive a fair trial [AFP report] if brought before a Rwandan court. Such a request could mean that his deportation from Denmark will be suspended for years. After the Rwandan genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people, international and...
[JURIST] The US Senate on Thursday approved a bill by a vote of 64 to 32 outlawing workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) [text] outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The ENDA expands upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964's Title VII [text] protections, which make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability. Religiously affiliated employers...
[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that a woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner has parental rights to the child they conceived. The child in question was born to the couple in 2004. The women had agreed to conceive a child with the assistance of reproductive technology. The donor and the birth mother were in a committed relationship and raised the child together from the child's birth until the end of their...
[JURIST] Vietnamese authorities are using repressive laws, unfair trials and harsh prison conditions against activists who oppose the ruling Communist government, according to a report [text, PDF] released Thursday by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website]. The report claims that those arrested include [press release] bloggers, labor and land rights activists, human rights defenders, and religious followers. Vietnam is a member of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Treaty [text, PDF], which prohibits state officials from interfering with individuals'...
[JURIST] The US on Thursday became the first country to ratify [press release] the Minamata Convention [text, PDF], which seeks to bring down emissions and releases of mercury, prompting praise from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) [official website]. There are currently 93 signatories to the convention, but the US is the only country to have ratified the agreement, giving the agreement legal force in the US. Named after the place where thousands of people were poisoned by mercury [BU backgrounder]...
[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled [judgment] Thursday that the exclusion of same-sex couples from civil unions under Greek law is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights [text]. The court held [press release, PDF] that the ban violates Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the convention and that "the state had not shown it to have been necessary, in pursuit...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo [official profile] and the chairperson of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice [official website] Frances Raday on Wednesday urged [text] the Sudanese government to stop the practice of threatening women with flogging for "honour-related offences." According to Manjoo, the punishment is violative of international law and amounts to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." Women in Sudan [UN country profile] may be...
[JURIST] The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] ruled [judgment] Thursday that gay people who live in African countries where they could be persecuted for their sexuality have grounds for asylum in the EU. The decision came after the Netherlands asked the ECJ for advice regarding three Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal citizens who were seeking asylum. Dutch authorities initially denied their applications, reasoning that gay people could "exercise restraint" to avoid prosecution. The ECJ rejected the Dutch policy...
[JURIST] Spanish officials on Wednesday told the UN that they will not reexamine the state's action during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War [BBC backgrounder] and the Franco era. In 1977, Spain enacted a law that granted amnesty for political crimes committed during these periods. Spanish officials testified [press release] before the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) [official website] that the state's action will not be revisited and stated that the Committee focused too much on the past. Ana Menendez...
[JURIST] A military judge on Wednesday ordered the US government to submit reports on Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prison conditions and removed restrictions on communications between lawyers and detainees in a case involving five Guantanamo prisoners related to the 9/11 [JURIST backgrounder] terrorist attack. Army Col. James Pohl [Miami Herald backgrounder] will review more than 10 years' worth of reports by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website], the only human rights group that has had access...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday criticized [report, PDF] Hungary for failing to protect the rights of female victims of domestic abuse. The report claims that women who were abused by their partners face difficulties in obtaining protection and other related services. HRW found that traditional social views of women's roles and the acceptance of domestic violence are among the obstacles that hinder successful prevention of domestic abuse. Moreover, the country's legal and political gaps have contributed...

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