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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The Supreme Court of Kenya [official website] on Monday upheld [text, PDF] last month's re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta [official profile]. All six judges unanimously dismissed the two petitions as lacking merit. The National Super Alliance (NASA) [official website] stated [Facebook post] in response to the ruling: We in NASA had repeatedly declared before this Supreme Court ruling today that we consider this government to be illegitimate and do not recognize it. This position has not been changed by the...
The Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) [party website] on Sunday demanded the resignation [materials] of 93-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile]. The document threatened that the ZANU PF, which has kept Mugabe in power for decades, would launch impeachment proceedings under Section 97 of the country's constitution [text, PDF] if he did not step down by noon on Sunday. Mugabe has been at the forefront of Zimbabwe's government ever since the country was founded in 1980....
Nebraska regulators voted [decision, PDF] on Monday to approve a route for TransCanada's Keystone XL oil pipeline, lifting the final regulatory barrier for the long-delayed project. The Nebraska Public Service Commission [official website], an elected panel that rules on the state's pipelines, electric lines and telecommunications, ruled 3-2 to approve a route that is a slightly longer alternative path than TransCanada's [corporate website] preferred route, that could prove more difficult and costly to build. Because pipeline safety is a federal...
Sweden's Supreme Court [official website, in Swedish] ruled [judgment, PDF, in Swedish] it is illegal to grow cannabis to self-medicate. Anders Thörn broke his neck in a motorcycle accident in 1994 and was paralyzed from the waist down. Medical treatment did not help his injuries, so he started growing cannabis in his laundry room. In 2015 he was prosecuted and cleared by the district court in Västerås, which determined he was in an emergency situation and was allowed to grow...
Turkish officials banned all events [press release, in Turkish] by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) non-governmental groups on Saturday in Ankara, the country's capital, asserting that the measure will ensure peace and security, personal immunity, safety and security of the public. Officials cited Article 11 of the State of Emergency Law [text], which allows for certain measures to be taken to ensure public safety, as justification for the ban, stating that these events may cause other groups to...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called [press release] Monday for the nations at the UN disarmament meeting later this week to strengthen international law surrounding incendiary weapons [HRW backgrounder] in response to the use of such weapons by the Syrian and Russian forces in 2017. Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) [text] currently controls the use of incendiary weapons, and HRW hopes that the countries at the UN disarmament meeting, held in Geneva this week, will...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy site] on Friday released a report [press release] detailing humanitarian crisis incidents that may amount to war crimes in the Philippines. [more] The chief judge of the EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo, Malcom Simmons, resigned Thursday over frustrations with corruption, he alleged in an interview [text, in French] with the French newspaper Le Monde. [more] The Cambodia Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: A US District judge declared a mistrial in New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez's [official profile] federal corruption trial on Thursday after questioning the 12 jurors. [more] The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] on Thursday denied [order, PDF] the City of Chicago's motion for reconsideration of an earlier order granting partial injunction of a federal law enforcement grant program. [more] [JURIST] The US House of Representatives...
The Russian Federation on Friday vetoed [press release] a measure before the UN Security Council (UNSC) [official website] that would have extended the mandate of a UN panel investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria for thirty days. The UNSC had established [S/Res 2235 text] the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW) [official website] in 2015 with a two-year mandate following the use of chemical weapons in Syria in violation of, among other...
The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] on Thursday denied [order, PDF] the City of Chicago's motion for reconsideration of an earlier order granting partial injunction of a federal law enforcement grant program. The dispute stems from the City's receipt of federal funds under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program [official materials], which provides state, tribal, and municipal law enforcement agencies with funding. Eligibility for 2017 Byrne JAG grants has been conditioned [official...
The Third Committee [official website] of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution [text] on Thursday calling on authorities in Myanmar to address a number of human rights concerns related to the treatment of the country's Rohningya population. The committee, which focuses on social, humanitarian, and social issues, voted 135-10-26 [roll call] to adopt a wide-ranging text urging the government in Myanmar to end on-going military operations, ensure the safe and voluntary return of all internally displaced persons, grant "full,...
Luisa Ortega Díaz, Venezuela's deposed chief prosecutor, filed a complaint on Thursday with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official site] calling for the arrest [press conference video, in Spanish] and trial of top Venezuela officials for crimes against humanity. These officials include, President Nicolás Maduro [official website], Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, and Interior Secretary Néstor Reverol. Díaz alleged that "8,290 deaths took place between 2015 and June 2017 on government orders." She also charged the government officials with "over...
A US District judge declared a mistrial in New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez's [official profile] federal corruption trial on Thursday after questioning the 12 jurors. Following several hours of deliberation, the jury announced that they were "hopelessly deadlocked" [Reuters report] in a note [WP report] sent before noon that read: "We cannot reach a unanimous decision. Nor are we willing to move away from our convictions." The three-year investigation into Menendez was helmed by the Justice Department (DOJ) [official website]...
On Thursday UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé [bio] suggested [press release] to the United Nations Security Council [official website] that a joint tribunal should be considered to try individuals suspected of war crimes in Libya. In the speech to the Security Council the chief expressed views that Libya is in a state of lawlessness with crimes being committed each day. Salamé stated [Libya Herald report], "If Libyans alone cannot combat impunity for war crimes, it is time for the international community...
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday denied [order, PDF] the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) [Official website] petition seeking to put a hold on a district court's order requiring the DHS to provide additional justification for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [official materials] program. The district court had ordered the DHS to provide additional justification for the decision to end DACA. DHS had previously provided 256 pages of documentation...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy site] on Friday released a report [press release] detailing humanitarian crisis incidents that may amount to war crimes in the Philippines. The report [report, PDF link] is titled ‘The Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines and is a look at the five month battle that occurred in Marawi earlier this year. AI found that during the siege of Marawi [JURIST report], civilians were murdered while the the Philippine army battled the Islamic State...
[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] approved HR 1 [text, PDF], a bill which will overhaul the US tax code, by a vote of 227-205 [NYT report] on Thursday. The bill proposes a $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut for business and individuals throughout the country. The legislation currently proposes a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. This would be a permanent drop in the tax rate with no set expiration date. Additionally,...
The chief judge of the EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo, Malcom Simmons, resigned Thursday over frustrations with corruption, he alleged in an interview [text, in French] with the French newspaper Le Monde. The mission, known as EULEX, exists to promote the rule of law in Kosovo, mentor lawyers and judges in that young nation's justice system, and participate in trying sensitive cases, specifically war crimes. The British judge Simmons says the reality of EULEX is a political mission...
Russia's State Duma [official website, in Russian], the lower house of parliament, voted unanimously [legislative materials, in Russian; legislative materials, in Russian; legislative materials, in Russian] Thursday to require foreign media organizations to label their materials as the work of foreign agents. Additionally, the law could potentially force media organizations to disclose [AI report] their sources of funding, finances and staffing. Two broadcasters with ties to the US, which operate seven regional affiliates throughout Russia, stated they received letters [Current...
An unnamed transgender woman being held in an all-male prison in Massachusetts filed suit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday alleging unfair treatment. The lawsuit, filed by GLAD Legal Advocates and Defenders [advocacy website] in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website], names the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Commissioner Thomas A. Turco III, MCI-Norfolk [official website] Superintendent Sean Medeiros, Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator James M. O'Gara Jr., and Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Clinical Services Stephanie Collins. Jane Doe's...

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