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 Italian Senate [official website, in Italian] voted on Wednesday to expel Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] from parliament, effective immediately, following his conviction [JURIST report] for tax fraud. Berlusconi could face prosecution for other crimes now that his immunity has been lost. As a result of his expulsion [BBC report], he may not take part in any general election for six years, as the vote indicates that the senate finds him unfit for public...
[JURIST] The Belgian Senate committee [official website, in Dutch] on Wednesday voted in favor of passing a controversial bill that aims to extend the right to request euthanasia to children with terminal illnesses and adults with dementia. Although still not yet a law, the bill cleared the committee in a 13-4 vote,according to [AP report] Senate communications director Patrick Peremans. The Belgian parliament adopted a legislation [text, PDF] that authorized the practice of euthanasia [BBC backgrounder] in 2002 but limited...
[JURIST] A lawyer representing two same-sex couples in Texas announced on Wednesday that a complaint is filed [text] in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] challenging Article 1, Sec. 32 [text] of the state's constitution that bans marriage between same-sex partners. Texas passed the amendment in 2005 and the state does not recognize lawful same-sex marriages from other states. The complaint was filed in the federal court, as the plaintiffs allege the ban in...
[JURIST] General Amadou Haya Sanogo, the leader of the March 2012 coup [JURIST report] that plunged Mali into civil war, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of murder, complicity to murder, assassination and kidnapping. According to one of the arresting soldiers, Sanogo had repeatedly ignored summons [France24 report] by the Malian Ministry of Justice [official website, in French]. Twenty-five armed soldiers arrested Sanogo in his home [BBC report] in Mali's capital city Bamako and took him to appear before a...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Tuesday reversed [decision] a previous decision that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [official website] be excused from parts of his crimes against humanity trial. In the initial ruling [decision], the Trial Chamber stated that the excuse was "strictly granted to accommodate the demanding functions of his office as President of Kenya." The prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration [JURIST report] of this decision in October, requesting that the Chamber vacate the excusal...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana [official website] issued a temporary injunction [ACLU press release] on Tuesday against an Indiana law [text] regulating abortion facilities. Under the law, facilities prescribing Mifepristone, the so-called "abortion pill," must meet the same regulatory requirements as clinics that perform surgical abortions. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) and American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana [advocacy websites] challenged [JURIST report] the law in August. In the...
[JURIST] The South African Supreme Court of Appeal [official website] ruled [judgment] Wednesday that South African authorities have a duty to investigate and prosecute international crimes, regardless of where those crimes were committed. In the case, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service v. Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) [advocacy website] and Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) submitted a dossier containing evidence of human rights abuses by Zimbabwe officials against Zimbabwe citizens to...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in four cases on Tuesday. First are the two cases surrounding the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder]. Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] is a challenge by a closely held corporation claiming religious freedom. In addressing this question, the court will also rule on Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] questioning whether corporations themselves...
[JURIST] An Israeli Rabbinical Court [official website] has ordered a woman to circumcise her son against her will or face daily fines. The ruling was issued [Telegraph report] by a three-rabbi panel after the boy's parents filed for divorce, and the father insisted on circumcision and the mother opposed. The mother argued that her son was born with a medical issue that prevented circumcision on his eighth day after birth, and says that the father was accepting of the decision...
[JURIST] A New Zealand High Court [official website] judge on Tuesday held that two Kiribati citizens, could not be granted refugee status [decision, PDF] based on the effects of climate change on Kiribati. Ioane Teitiota and his wife moved to New Zealand from the island nation of Kiribati in 2007 and had three children born in New Zealand. As New Zealand does not grant citizenship based upon birth in the country, the entire family faces deportation because the couple has...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] on Monday ordered the Cook County Clerk [official website] to immediately issue a marriage license to same-sex couple Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert. Gray and Ewert petitioned for an immediate marriage license due to Gray's battle with terminal breast cancer. Cook County officials complied with the order by hand-delivering [Chicago Tribune report] a marriage license to the couple. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website]...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] on Monday denied [text] Samsung's request to stay on a trial to determine damages owed as a result of the company's infringement of five Apple patents. On November 20, Samsung asked Judge Lucy Koh to postpone recalculation of the $450 million award she vacated [JURIST report] in March until the US Patent Office completes its investigation into the validity of Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent [USPTO...
[JURIST] The Council of Europe (COE) [official website] Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks [official profile] on Tuesday released a report [text, PDF] describing numerous rights violations committed by Turkish police forces during protests in May and June of this year. In particular, Muiznieks reported the police actions resulted in injuries to thousands [AP report] of peaceful demonstrators, as well as the death of five protesters, during the Gezi Park protests. Muiznieks said that law enforcement showed a systematic and...
[JURIST] A judge for the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida [official website] on Monday ruled the sedative midazolam hydrochloride is permissible in state executions. Florida is the only state in the US that uses the drug, which was implemented as part of its three-drug protocol in executions on October 15 and November 12. Witnesses of these executions voiced concern over the drug's ability to prevent pain. Following an attorney's challenge to the use of midazolam, the Florida Supreme Court [official...
[JURIST] The UN Deputy Secretary-General on Monday briefed [official statement] the UN Security Council [official website] on the quickly deteriorating situation in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. On behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile], the Deputy Secretary-General explained the mounting human rights violations that have recently been occurring in the CAR, along with the rise in the use of child soldiers as well as sexual violence, which are a result of the recent...
[JURIST] A Zimbabwean magistrate on Tuesday acquitted human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa [personal website] on charges of obstructing justice and being unruly to police officers. Mtetwa was arrested in March [Reuters report], and was determined to be a flight risk. She was denied bail, and has been on trial since June [JURIST report]. Officers claimed that Mtetwa called them President Robert Mugabe's [BBC profile] "dogs", and photographed them as they searched a the home of one of her clients. Mtetwa...
[JURIST] Ukraine's imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] announced on Monday [press release] that she would go on a hunger strike to show her support [Guardian report] for the demonstrators who have been protesting Ukraine's decision to abandon a planned EU trade pact. Demonstrators allege that Ukraine has caved to pressure from Russia. Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister, was sentenced to seven years in prison [JURIST report] on charges of abuse of power and corruption....
[JURIST] Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile] on Monday invoked a special security law in districts of Bangkok and nearby areas after protesters stormed and occupied several key ministries. The law, known as the Internal Security Act, gives police additional powers to block routes, impose curfews, ban gatherings and carry out searches. The demonstration against Shinawatra is the biggest since the 2010 anti-government protests when 90 civilians were killed in a military crackdown [TIME backgrounder]. On Monday, tens of...
[JURIST] A court in Azerbaijan on Monday convicted a group of 29 people of plotting terrorist attacks in the country. The court sentenced the group to prison terms ranging from nine years to life. The group was arrested in April and May 2012 and was accused [reuters report] of plotting to kill Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev [official website], and planning several attacks on hotels in the capital city of Baku. The prosector asserted that the attackers, who are believed to...
[JURIST] Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi [BBC profile] announced on Monday that plans to hold the country's constitutional referendum will likely be delaying until January, rather than taking place in December as originally expected. The interim government, which has been in place since Mohamed Morsi's [BBC profile] removal from office [JURIST report], has organized a committee of 50 members who are currently working to amend the existing constitution that was established under the ousted president's administration. It is widely...

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