[JURIST] In Tuesday's international brief, Southern Sudan officials Monday ratified the proposed peace treaty between the now-autonomous South and the Khartoum government [official website] of the north. The 224-seat National Liberation Council, the legislative branch of the now-ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement [official website], met over the last two days and voted Monday to ratify the treaty. The document now must be approved by the Sudanese parliament sitting in Khartoum; it is scheduled to begin discussions on Saturday. Once ratified by the Sudanese parliament, the deal is legally binding and opens the door for constitutional reforms that will grant Southern Sudan a minimum of 30% representation in Parliament. It will also create a referendum to be held in six years by the Southern states, in which they will vote on whether or not to remain as part of Sudan, or to break off and form an independent nation. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage [JURIST country archive] of Sudan. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
In other international legal news...
- The Countryside Alliance [advocacy website], a pro-hunting group in Britain, has begun its legal challenge to the ban against fox hunting set to take effect February 18. The case before the High Court seeks to have the use of the 1949 Parliament Act [official FAQ] overturned as unconstitutional. The Parliament Act grants the House of Commons [official website] the power to forcefully pass any legislation that would be blocked by approval from the House of Lords [official website]. Pro-hunting groups are challenging the validity of the law, as it never received ratification from the House of Lords. If nullified, the other acts passed using the Parliament Act would become questionable law. JURIST's Paper Chase has background [JURIST report] on the initial dispute over the hunting ban. BBC News has local coverage.
- Guinea [official website in French] has arrested over 100 individuals allegedly involved in last weeks assassination attempt on President Lansana Conte [official profile in French] during a celebration of his election to a third term of office one year ago. Gunmen reportedly fired at the Conte's motorcade as it wound through the streets of the capital city. The gunmen then apparently discarded their weapons and fled the area, leaving the crowd in shock, and a member of Conte's retinue critically wounded. The Guinean Organisation of Human Rights announced Tuesday that it knew of over a hundred arrests, and suspected double that number, in the investigation, and warned that the conditions the prisoners were being kept in were reprehensible. 53 individuals that had been arrested at a mosque in the nearby area were released Monday, after an elderly imam died while in police custody. It appears that the imam suffered a natural heart attack and died at the hospital while receiving treatment. Individuals released Monday claimed that they had not been questioned or ill-treated. AllAfrica.com has more.
- A Japanese government panel began debate on the inclusion of female succession to the throne on Tuesday and will report to the Prime Minister [official website] in the fall. The proposal is part of a draft of several possible reforms to the Japanese constitution [official text], but is by far the one attracting the most public interest. The panel will discuss the procedures for allowing a female monarch, as well as questions of preference if a male child were to be born later. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party [party website in Japanese] has proposed a change making the throne a simple hereditary title, regardless of gender, with the crown going to the first child born. The current royal family [official website] has only a daughter, and many Japanese fear the end of the royal line if female rulers are not constitutionally permitted. The proposed change would require approval from the Japanese parliament. JURIST's Paper Chase has background [JURIST report] on the proposed changes to the constitution. The Japan Times has local coverage.