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 political action group Privacy for all Students [advocacy website] said Sunday that they have received sufficient petition [text] signatures to bring about an initiative on the November 2014 ballot to repeal California's new law intended to protect transgender public school students. Under California law, 505,000 valid signatures must be submitted to bring about a referendum [referendum backgrounder] on the law. Privacy for all Students alleges [AP report] that they have received 620,000 signatures. California Governor Jerry Brown [official...
[JURIST] One of the defense lawyers for imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] was detained by police Monday, according to Arseniy Yatsenyuk [official website] an MP for Tymoshenko's All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" [party website; in Ukrainian] party. Yatsenyuk has not provided [BBC news report] any additional information on the current situation of lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko [Gazeta backgrounder; in Ukrainian]. In 2011 Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison [JURIST report] on charges of abuse...
[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] ruled [judgment, PDF] Monday that Cambodia has sovereignty over a disputed piece of land around the 1,000-year-old Temple of the Preah Vihear [UNESCO profile], in an attempt to settle an ongoing border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand. The ICJ reasoned [AP report] that its 1962 decision awarding Cambodia control over the temple and its "vicinity" gave Cambodia control over the promontory [BBC report], a land formation that overlooks the temple. However,...
[JURIST] The Egyptian government has detained more than 1,500 Syrian refugees and has forcibly deported some refugees back to Syria, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said [press release] Monday. The refugees were detained after trying to migrate by boat to Europe in order to escape the Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder]. In the press release, HRW noted that Palestinians from Syria have been exceptionally vulnerable to indefinite detention, and called on Egypt to allow the UN to protect these...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of the Maldives [official website] on Sunday suspended the nation's presidential election for the third time. Former president Mohamed Nasheed received the most votes at the official election Saturday, but Maldives' protocols called for a runoff to be held Sunday. According to media sources, numerous political entities petitioned the high court to halt the election on grounds that a runoff vote one day after an election violates the nation's constitution [NYT report]. In October the high...
[JURIST] A UN independent rights expert on Friday called on the Benin government to better protect the rights of children after a visit to the country reportedly revealed widespread abuse and exploitation. UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography Najat Maalla M'jid reported [press release] that many adults abuse and exploit children under the pretext of tradition, custom and religion. The Special Rapporteur outlined numerous instances of infanticide of children considered to be sorcerers,...
[JURIST] New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg [official website] on Saturday asked the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] to vacate the decisions of US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ordered sweeping changes to the New York Police Department (NYPD) [official website]stop-and-frisk program [text]. It is speculated [NYT report] that Bloomberg seeks to ensure that Scheindlin's changes to the program are permanently prevented before he leaves office. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio [personal website] has indicated...
[JURIST] Bangladesh authorities on Saturday arrested senior leaders of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website], Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar and Rafiqul Islam Mia. The arrests were made shortly after BNP announced a new 72-hour strike [Al Jazeera report], scheduled to begin Sunday. Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh are expected [UN News Centre report] to be held between now and the end of January and have inspired a number of violent protests and strikes. In October UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of New Jersey [official website] on Friday upheld a New Jersey law [text] banning the use of sexual orientation conversion therapy. The unidentified parents of a 15-year-old boy filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] seeking an injunction on the law, allowing them to continue using conversion therapy on their son, as they had since 2011. The plaintiffs claim that the law violates their First Amendment [text] rights to the free...
[JURIST] The Hawaii House of Representatives [JURIST report] voted 30-19 [legislative materials] Friday to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage [text, PDF]. A point of contention during the committee hearing was the introduction of religious exemptions to the bill, allowing religious organizations to withhold services if the same-sex marriage would be a violation of thei beliefs. Governor Neil Abercrombie [official website], who called for a special convening of the state legislature specifically to consider legislation for same-sex marriage by proclamation...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] on Friday temporarily blocked [opinion, PDF] the enforcement of the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder]. The companies are challenging the mandate on religious freedom grounds, claiming providing such medical services goes against their religious beliefs against contraceptives. This challenge involves two construction companies and their owners. The divided court determined:The Free Exercise Clause protects not just belief...
[JURIST] Four Idaho couples filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the Idaho District Court [official website] Friday challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. The plaintiffs are bringing the lawsuit in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in US v. Windsor [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report] claiming that Idaho's refusal to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states violates their constitutional rights. The complaint alleges:Idaho's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and refusal to respect existing marriages undermines the plaintiff couples'...
[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,...

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