Legal news from Thursday, December 8, 2005
18:12 EDT

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] Thursday defended contentious statements made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile; JURIST news archive] on US terrorist rendition practices [JURIST archive], saying through a spokesperson that she has his "full confidence" as a "highly respected jurist," and that [read more]

18:12 EDT

[JURIST] Signatory nations to the Kyoto Protocol [text; JURIST news archive] meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference [conference website] in Montreal Thursday agreed to a final protocol provision governing the rules for ensuring compliance with emissions standards. A country that exceeds its set goal for emissions will now incur [read more]

17:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US House Judiciary Committee [official website] approved a complex bill aimed at preventing illegal immigration in a split party 23-15 vote Thursday, allowing a full House vote on the legislation next week. The bill [text; committee press release, PDF], sponsored by committee chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) [official [read more]

17:12 EDT

[JURIST] Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell [official website], a Republican, has signed into law legislation [text] that bans campaign contributions from lobbyists and state contractors, limits political action committee (PAC) funding, closes a loophole allowing unrestricted corporate funding, and establishes a publicly-funded voluntary campaign contribution program. Read a transcript of Rell's [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] In remarks [text] to the North Atlantic Council of NATO on Thursday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] assured European leaders that the US government does not allow torture of suspected terrorists and that it respects the principles of the Geneva Conventions. Her comments in the final [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] A group of 12 retired federal judges on Thursday urged [official press release] US lawmakers not to pass legislation that would strip federal courts of the power to hear habeas corpus claims brought by detainees held at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. In a [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] confirmed Thursday that the International Committee of the Red Cross [official website] does not have access to all US detainees, but said that ICRC had access to "absolutely everybody" held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. John Bellinger, top lawyer at the State [read more]

14:12 EDT

[JURIST] US House and Senate negotiators announced Thursday that a deal [JURIST report] has been reached on legislation [bill summary] that will reauthorize portions of the USA PATRIOT Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] set to expire on December 31. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] said the Senate will [read more]

13:12 EDT

[JURIST] Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin [official website] on Thursday proposed a sweeping national ban on handguns [press release] in an effort to combat escalating gun violence in Canadian cities. In Toronto, there have been 50 homicides from gunfire this year, a new record [CTV report] for the city and [read more]

13:12 EDT

[JURIST] Retired Croatian general Ante Gotovina [BBC profile; ICTY case backgrounder] was arrested late Wednesday night in Spain. Gotovina was indicted on crimes against humanity charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] in 2001 and was considered to be the third most-wanted suspect from the [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] Leaders in the US House and Senate are still working to reach a compromise on legislation [bill summary] that would reauthorize portions of the USA PATRIOT Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] which are set to expire at the end of this year, though officials say they are moving [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, an officer in Britain's Royal Air Force [official website], will face a court-martial next year on five counts of disobeying a lawful command and could be jailed for refusing to serve in Iraq. Earlier this year, Kendall-Smith refused to attend preliminary training and briefings in [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Shirley Wohl Kram has dismissed several lawsuits that sought to block reparations for Austrian Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Last month, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ruled [PDF decision] that the claims should be dismissed [NY Law Journal report] under [read more]

10:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) [advocacy website], representing Inuit indigenous peoples in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia, has filed a petition [PDF text; summary, PDF] with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [official website] accusing the US government of violating Inuit human rights by failing to adequately fight [read more]

10:12 EDT

[JURIST] Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Paul Cote Jr. [official profile] has said that church-run and other private hospitals will be able to opt out from a new state law [text] requiring emergency room doctors to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. Cote's office expects to issue regulations next week that [read more]

09:12 EDT

[JURIST] European officials have said they are satisfied with assurances by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] that US policies on the treatment of terror detainees fall within the bounds of international law. Rice is currently in Europe and on Wednesday met with foreign ministers from NATO and [read more]

09:12 EDT

[JURIST] Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer said Thursday that he was threatened by three men when boarding a flight from Baghdad to Jordan, and that the three individuals were escorted from the plane by security personnel. Khalil Dulaimi said he knows the men but will not reveal their names and did [read more]

09:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Chinese government said Thursday that it will make court proceedings on death penalty appeals open to the public to "improve human rights protection" following a notice [press release, in Chinese] from the Supreme Court of China [official website, in Chinese]. On January 1, the public will have access [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] House and Senate negotiators are continuing talks to reconcile versions of a defense appropriation bill, with both sides largely agreeing to a torture ban [JURIST document] proposed by Sen. John McCain [official website], but with other provisions remaining in dispute. Negotiators hoped to reach a final bill by the [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Congressional Black Caucus [official website] is expected to announce Thursday its opposition to the confirmation of US Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. [official profile; JURIST news archive]. The Caucus is made of 42 Democratic House members and Sen. Barack Obama [official website], who said he has [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST] A former Rwandan mayor on Wednesday pleaded guilty to aiding the 1994 genocide as part of a plea deal with prosecutors for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive]. Under the plea deal, Paul Bisengimana, former mayor of Gikoro, pleaded guilty to murder and [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST] US House Rep. Tom DeLay [official website; JURIST news archive] has asked the judge in his case to split the remaining two charges against him and move forward with a trial on one of them. After the judge in the case, Pat Priest [profile], threw out one conspiracy charge [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US House [official website] has voted to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 [PDF text], under which the federal government guarantees insurance coverage for catastrophic losses caused by terror attacks. The House approved H.R. 4314 [bill summary; JURIST report] on Wednesday by a 371-49 vote, moving [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The UK House of Lords [official website], the country's highest judicial body, ruled against the government Thursday in a case involving the use of evidence that may have been obtained through torture. The ruling prohibits the UK courts, and especially the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, from using evidence [read more]

06:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The two largest political parties in the European Parliament [official website] have agreed to support a draft bill designed to require all European-based telecommunications companies to store records of phone and email users for up to 24 months to aid in criminal investigations by police officials into serious [read more]

05:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] A Russian bill designed to increase state control [JURIST report] over non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by requiring them to register with a governmental commission has draw sharp criticism from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] as troubling to the US government "at all levels." Rice, speaking in [read more]

04:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie [official profile] has stated that contrary to press reports, French airports were 'apparently not' used by CIA 'ghost flights' [JURIST report] allegedly moving US detainees around the world where they might have been tortured for information. She stressed the fact that the CIA [read more]

04:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] French judges ruled Wednesday against the deportation of a 21-year old Mauritanian man accused of participating in the suburban riots [JURIST report] that broke out across France last month. The regional court in Pontoise [official website], a town of 30,000 just outside Paris, concluded that allegations against the [read more]

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