[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, in the strongest statement so far by a European governmental body, the German Bundestag [government website] has called on the German government to take several strong steps against the administration of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile], including measures to ensure that the relevant "masterminds" behind Operation Murambatsvina [Wikipedia backgrounder] are referred to the International Criminal Court [official website] by the UN Security Council [official website]. The resolution also included a call for German officials to enforce all possible sanctions against Zimbabwe, to expand those if necessary, and to encourage the African Union to emphasize to Zimbabwe that all "pledges of assistance for Africa are firmly linked to respect for human rights and the rule of law." JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- Kenyan Attorney-General Amos Wako [official website] has voiced his opposition to the creation of a legislative shield for American military personnel that would exempt them from investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court [official website] while within Kenya's territorial borders. Wako said that the International Crime Bill, Kenyan legislation designed to implement the responsibilities assumed by Kenya's ratification of the ICC's Rome Statute [official PDF text], was designed to aid the ICC in the investigation of all possible war crimes committed within Kenya, and that any shield or special exception defeated the purpose of the Bill and the ICC. The United States has requested special exemption status from the Kenyan government under an Article 98 agreement [US State Dep't backgrounder], and has threatened to withdraw significant amounts of financial support [JURIST report] from Kenya's military should the legislature not approve the immunity clause. Wako argued that the wording of the International Crime Bill would prohibit Kenya from entering into any immunity agreement once it has been passed by Parliament [official website]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Kenya [JURIST news archive]. Kenya's Daily Nation has local coverage.
- Sudanese Interim President Omar al-Bashir [Wikipedia profile] has lifted the publishing ban on the Khartoum Monitor, the only independent, English-language, daily newspaper in Khartoum, following consultations with his legal advisor and the Sudanese Minister of Justice. The Monitor has been the focus of repeated attempts by the government to stop its presses permanently under the emergency laws that penalized publication of materials critical of the central government. After al-Bashir lifted the emergency laws [JURIST report] earlier in July, he promised no more government censorship of the media would occur. Pro-media rights groups praised the move, but warned that Sudan still had a long way to go towards true journalistic freedom. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [Wikipedia profile] successfully manipulated the parliamentary rules of procedure in Italy's Chamber of Deputies [government website in Italian] to ensure the passage of his controversial Justice Reform Bill. Berlusconi used a provision allowing for an affirmative vote of confidence to cut off all debate and pass legislation to ensure its acceptance, winning the motion with a coalition vote of 312 to 225. The bill, an earlier version of which had been essentially vetoed by Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampiis [JURIST report], is designed to speed up the legendary lethargy of Italy's criminal justice system, as well as civil suits, but opponents are harshly critical of its provisions, alleging that many of the reforms proposed by Berlusconi are unconstitutional. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Italy [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more.