[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, South Africa's Constitutional Court [government website] has issued a unanimous ruling ordering the South African Department of Justice to expedite the alternative sentencing of the 62 individuals currently sitting on death row. South Africa [government website] placed a moratorium on all executions in 1989 and abolished the death penalty in 1995. Part of that ruling required that all individuals currently on death row be assigned alternative sentences in a new hearing. The Constitutional Court ruled on the issue following a suit brought by four men who had been death row inmates since before the moratorium went into effect and were still waiting for a change of sentence. The Court ruled that new trials were not required for current death row inmates, but did find that the Department of Justice [government website] had been unacceptably slow in applying new sentences. The Court ordered a progress report from the Justice Department by August 15. Read the full judgement [official PDF text] of the Constitutional Court. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Africa [JURIST news archive]. South Africa's News 24 has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- The largest NGO in Zimbabwe [government website], the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights [Zim Human Rights Forum backgrounder] has announced its intent to sue the city government of Harare for its recent crackdown on illegal street vendors [JURIST report] and unlicensed housing. ZLHR alleges that the actions by police and city officials in arresting nearly 10,000 street vendors and abolishing the unlicensed dwellings of nearly 50% of the city's inhabitants is a violation of those citizens' rights under Zimbabwean law. ZLHR is specifically challenging the lack of any court order authorizing the actions of police and public works officials. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. Zim Online has local coverage.
- The Central African Republic has announced final official election results for its three month long parliamentary and presidental polls. Francois Bozize [Wikipedia profile] won nearly 65% of the vote in what international observers and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan referred to as an "exemplary election process." CAR has been in a state of political unrest since Bozize seized power from a largely corrupt government in 2003 with the backing of a popular revolution. Since then, the country has faced increasing economic hardships and is currently seeking to resume negotiations with the World Bank [official website] and the International Monetary Fund [official website] to obtain funding to pay nearly five months of back salary for civil servants. IRIN has more.