Legal news from Thursday, December 15, 2005
17:12 EDT

[JURIST] The UN Security Council late Thursday unanimously approved a six-month extension of the probe into the February assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri [JURIST news archive; UN materials] just before the mandate of the investigatory commission currently headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis was set to expire. [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] The European Parliament [official website] agreed Thursday to open an investigation [EP press release] into allegations that the CIA illegally operated secret jails in Romania and Poland and covertly flew detainees through Italy, Germany and Poland. Lawmakers approved the resolution to begin an investigation by an overwhelming majority of [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website], told the UN Security Council Thursday that Serbia and other European countries are contributing to a "dysfunctional" situation as the UN-backed war crimes tribunal struggles to arrest two top fugitives from the Bosnian [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] The unicameral Latvian parliament [official website] Thursday overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, effectively blocking the recognition of same-sex marriage [advocacy website press release]. The amendment infuriatedLatvian gay rights activists [advocacy website press release] who are considering taking their [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] Survivors of the May 2005 Andijan uprising [HRW backgrounder] have filed a lawsuit in Germany under that country's universal jurisdiction laws [Amnesty backgrounder], accusing Uzbek Interior Minister Zokirjon Almatov of torture and crimes against humanity, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thursday. Troops under Almatov's command fired on [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] The NAACP [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] announced its opposition [press release, PDF] to the US Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive] in a news conference Thursday, citing his conservative record as a threat to civil rights. The Black Leadership Forum [advocacy website] and the [read more]

12:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Illinois Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday reversed [opinion text] a $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris USA [corporate website] in a case where the tobacco company had been found liable for defrauding customers into believing that light cigarettes were safer than regular ones. The state high court [read more]

12:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Parliament of New South Wales [official website] passed laws in an emergency session Thursday allowing Sydney police to "lockdown" parts of the city if necessary in order to stop racial unrest. The new legislation also increases jail sentences for rioting and affray and expands police power, providing the [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the White House has agreed to accept the McCain Amendment [JURIST document] that would ban the cruel and inhumane treatment of terror detainees, according to congressional officials. The White House has previously threatened to veto any legislation to which the amendment was attached and called [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed with prejudice a lawsuit brought by an Idaho county against local employers who allegedly hired illegal immigrants which sought to recover medical, school and other costs the county said it spent on the workers. Canyon County [official website] sued four businesses and the [read more]

10:12 EDT

[JURIST] UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari [official profile] told the UN Security Council Wednesday that the human rights situation in Iraq requires urgent action [meeting summary]. Gambari expressed concern over the "increasingly disturbing reports" of abuses occurring in Iraqi detention facilities. US forces first discovered 173 badly malnourished, [read more]

10:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US House committee investigating the government's actions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] issued a subpoena Wednesday commanding Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] to turn over internal records on the Pentagon's efforts to stabilize public safety, mobilize active duty forces in the region and [read more]

09:12 EDT

[JURIST] Officials from the US Department of Defense [official website] have said that they will review its TALON program [Wired report], which gathers information about potential threats to military facilities, after an NBC News report disclosed that the database also includes information on peace protesters and others whose shouldn't have [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives late Wednesday voted 308-122 in support of the so-called McCain Amendment [JURIST document], designed to prohibit the cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees in US custody. The non-binding vote instructs negotiators working to finalize the 2006 military spending bill, to which the amendment [read more]

06:12 EDT

[JURIST] After the US House voted to reauthorize [JURIST report] the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive] Wednesday, Senate Republican leaders are working to prevent the renewal from being blocked by a bipartisan group of senators that is concerned that the reauthorization measure gives too much power to the government [read more]

06:12 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqis voted Thursday in Iraq's parliamentary elections [JURIST news archive] to choose their first full-term parliament since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. There was large voter turnout reported in Sunni Arab areas that had been disinterested in balloting last January, including in several insurgent strongholds such as Ramadi [read more]

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