International brief ~ Pinochet stripped of immunity for human rights abuses
D. Wes Rist at 3:10 PM ET
[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, in a ruling originally expected in June, the Santiago Appeals Court has held that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] was not entitled to immunity from prosecution for alleged human rights abuses during Operation Colombo. An earlier ruling on Pinochet's immunity was delayed [JURIST report] due to an alleged minor stroke suffered by Pinochet. Many of the former leader's detractors have accused Pinochet of attempting to gain sympathy from courts by exaggerating his medical conditions. Pinochet lost his immunity [JURIST report] protecting his private financial records earlier in the year. Pinochet's lawyers have announced their intent to appeal the decision to the Chilean Supreme Court. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more.
In other international legal news ...
- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] has responded to questions concerning families made homeless by the mass evictions [JURIST report] under "Operation Restore Order" by denying the existence of any homeless persons. Mugabe called the UN estimation of over 200,000 people left homeless "nonsense" and argued that the government program had prepared for all contingencies and was arranging housing for those moved out of illegal shanty towns. The UN homeless estimate was made in the second week of a now two-month-long program and Zimbabwean rights groups have put the current figure at nearly a million persons left homeless. The UN Special Envoy to Zimbabwe Anna Tibaijuka [official profile] has decided to remain in the country until the end of the week instead of filing her report earlier [JURIST report], as was originally intended. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.
- A trial court in Osaka, Japan [official website] has handed down the first ruling in the numerous civil suits filed against the Japanese government [official website] by repatriated "war orphans" of Japanese descent. The Court ruled against the plaintiffs, finding that the government owed no financial compensation to the individuals, many of whom didn't begin returning to Japan until the early 1980s. The plaintiffs are children who were left behind in the rush to flee China for Japan in 1945. Japan began attempting to repatriate the individuals in the '80s, but many of the orphans claim that they should have started the process much sooner. Wednesday's ruling included 32 of the 111 orphans filing against the government, and denied them all of the nearly $300,000 (USD) they were requesting. Counsel for the plaintiffs announced their intention to appeal the decision. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Japan [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more. Japan Today has local coverage.
- Two staffers in Uzbekistan [government website] for the Internews Network, a US-based, non-profit media organization, have been charged with "conspiracy to engage in productions of videos and publications of informational materials without the necessary licenses" as the first step in a nation-wide crackdown on international NGOs by Uzbek authorities. The criminal charges, which carry sentences of up to six months incarceration, are the latest in a long line of attacks and intimidation aimed at foreign journalists in Uzbekistan. Read the Internews Network press release. IRIN News has more.
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