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] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Monday warned [press release] that the renewed clashes of anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka mark a critical time for Central African Republic (CAR) [JURIST news archive]. Ex-Seleka groups are supported by armed Muslim civilians, while anti-Balaka are backed by former national army soldiers. Serious violence has been reported in the Bangui neighborhoods of PK5, PK11, PK12 and PK13, causing many ex-Seleka and Muslim civilians to flee to the northern part...
[JURIST] Tunisia's Parliament [official website, in Arabic] on Sunday passed a new constitution, its first since the ousting of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in January 2011. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] commended [UN News Centre report] the country's democratic transition, stating his belief that Tunisia's example could serve as a model to other peoples seeking reforms in a statement [text] from his spokesperson. The text, which was passed by 200 votes [BBC...
[JURIST] The children of convicted murderer Dennis McGuire filed a lawsuit on Friday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] over the method used in McGuire's 26-minute long execution, which they say amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. McGuire, who was convicted [AP report] in 1994 of raping and murdering a 22-year-old girl in 1989 and lost his appeal [text, PDF] to the Supreme Court of Ohio in 1997, was executed earlier this month...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday issued an order [order, PDF] enjoining the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) [official website] from requiring that the Little Sisters, a Roman Catholic order, fill out a formal government document in order to secure exemption from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] contraceptive mandate. The PPACA requires employers providing certain health care plans to cover various types of contraceptives. Religious groups seeking exemption...
[JURIST] Anti-government protesters on Sunday seized and occupied the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice building in Kiev and did not disperse until a government minister threatened to initiate a state of emergency Monday morning. The Ukrainian civic group Spilna Sprava, translated as "Common Cause," has reportedly claimed responsibility [RT report] for the Ministry of Justice raid and earlier raids at the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Energy buildings. The formerly peaceful protests have become increasingly violent with reports of detained...
[JURIST] Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour [BBC backgrounder] announced [Rueters report] in a televised speech on Sunday that Egypt will hold presidential elections before conducting parliamentary elections. The parliamentary elections were supposed to happen first under the timetable agreed to after Egypt's army deposed [JURIST report] Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July. Critics have argued for a change in the 'roadmap' to democracy, calling for a presidential election to take place before a potentially divisive parliamentary election. Based on a...
[JURIST] An anti-government protest leader was killed in Bangkok on Sunday. Suthin Thararin, a protest leader for the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) [Facebook page], was shot to death [Reuters report] in front of the Sri Eiam Temple in Bangkok while demonstrators blocked a voting station, according to Police Col. Thawatkiat Jindakuansanong. On Friday, a Thai court ruled [NY Times report] that elections scheduled for next month could be postponed. Police said that Thararin's death came after protesters blocked a...
[JURIST] The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court [official website, in Chinese] sentenced [announcement, in Chinese] legal scholar and activist Xu Zhiyong [BBC Backgrounder] on Sunday to four years in prison on the charge of 'gathering a crowd to disturb public order.' Xu is the founder of the New Citizens' Movement [WSJ backgrounder, video], a grass-roots organization which seeks to draw attention to matters of public discontent, including equal access to education and disclosure of Chinese officials' personal assets to...
[JURIST] Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych [official website] promised concessions on Friday in response to the growing unrest in the country. The concessions would include [AP report] a change in Yanukovych's cabinet members, amnesty for many imprisoned protesters who have not been accused of serious crimes, and reform of the country's anti-protest legislation. At a meeting with religious leaders Yanukovych called for a special parliament meeting next Tuesday to push the reforms through. Yanukovych reached out [Al Jazeera report] to opposition...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Croatia [official website, in Croatian] on Friday upheld a lower court's ruling [JURIST report] that former Yugoslav secret service official Josip Perkovic could be extradited to Germany where he has been implicated in the 1983 murder of a Yugoslav dissident. Perkovic, who helped create Croatia's Security and Intelligence Agency [official website] in the 1990s, has repeatedly denied [AP report] involvement in the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic, a Croatian nationalist who had fled the country to...
[JURIST] On Wednesday, Texas executed [official Texas DCJ website] a Mexican national who was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1994. Controversy grew after the arrest because Edgar Arias Tamayo was not notified of his rights under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations [text] to notify Mexican diplomats of the arrest. Because of this, Tamayo's legal team argued that Tamayo was not provided the potential legal protections of the counselor's office. The Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program (MCLAP), funded by...
[JURIST] The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Wednesday filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] alleging fraud against the background check firm, United States Investigations Services (USIS) [corporate website]. USIS was contracted by the DOJ to perform background checks on individuals at varying levels. The DOJ alleges the USIS faked more than 665,000 background checks they were contracted to perform between March 2008 and September 2012. This number accounts for almost 40 percent of the total background checks USIS performed...
[JURIST] Prosecutors investigating allegations of a CIA secret prison in a Polish forest announced on Friday that they will be looking further into recent developments surrounding the so-called "black site." According to the Washington Post, two senior CIA officials were seen delivering cardboard boxes containing $15 million in cash [WP report] to the US Embassy in Warsaw in early 2003. The cash was soon delivered to the Polish intelligence headquarters, a payment made in exchange for access to a remote...
[JURIST] The appeals chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Thursday upheld [press release] the criminal convictions of four Serbian senior officials stemming from the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive], while reducing the sentences for three of them. Former Serbian prime minister Nikola Sainovic's sentence was reduced from 22 to 18 years imprisonment, while former Yugoslav army chief of staff Nebojsa Pavkovic's 22-year sentence was affirmed. Generals Vladimir Lazarevic and Sreten Lukic...
[JURIST] A court in Pakistan on Thursday sentenced 65-year old Mohammed Asghar to death for blasphemy, convicting him of writing letters claiming to be a prophet. Asghar was convicted [Al Jazeera report] under Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code [text, PDF], making it illegal to make derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. He received the maximum sentence after confessing to writing the letters. Justice Pakistan Project [advocacy website] argued Asghar suffered from a mental illness, but the court rejected...
[JURIST] The Iraq Ministry of Justice [official website, in Arabic] announced on Thursday the execution by hanging of 11 Iraqi prisoners convicted of terrorist attacks against the Iraqi people. These executions come mere days after the country's execution of 26 Iraqi nationals [JURIST report], also for terrorist related offenses. Thursday's acts bring the total number of Iraqi executions this week to 37. Human rights groups have long opposed the use of capital punishment in Iraq and the overarching legal system...
[JURIST] An Oklahoma state court judge on Thursday ruled the state's emergency contraception law [HB 2226, PDF] unconstitutional. The law requires [AP report] women younger than 17 to obtain a prescription and show photo ID in order to receive Plan B One-Step and other generic emergency contraceptive pills. Women 17 and older would be allowed to receive the contraceptives over-the-counter. The law was passed in May as a response to the federal government making the contraceptive pills available over-the-counter to...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court [official website, in Nepali] of Nepal [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] settled a major political dispute on Thursday when it ruled that the selection of a new president was not an immediate need, and should be postponed until the adoption of a new constitution. Though President Ram Baran Yadav [official website] was initially elected to serve only two years, he has been in office since 2008, soon after the Constituent Assembly of Nepal (CA) [official website]...
[JURIST] The UN humanitarian chief on Thursday called for an immediate investigation [statement, PDF] by authorities following reports of alarming levels of violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. In a brief statement, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos stated:I am deeply concerned about reports of alarming levels of violence, including the killing of many civilians and a policeman, in Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar. I ask the Government of Myanmar to take all necessary measures to ensure...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday agreed to delay [order, PDF] the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [ICC materials], which was originally schedule for February 5, after prosecutors requested more time for trial preparation. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked for a new start date [Al Jazeera report] after considering the sufficiency of the evidence against Kenyatta. In the order to vacate the February 5 trial date, the court also addressed other procedural matters, ordering the...

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