[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, in one of the first directly anti-monarchial protests recorded in Nepal [government website], over one thousand Nepalese citizens gathered to protest the death of a Nepalese protestor [JURIST report] on Wednesday at the hands of the Royal Nepal Army [official website] as the government released the body to the protester's family. Earlier on Thursday, over four thousand protesters were attacked by police using batons and tear gas after they had gathered outside the palace of King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile], chanting slogans calling for the King's removal and even his death. Domestic political analysts in Nepal have said that direct opposition to the monarchy is unusual, but once released, the "king's days could be numbered." JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Reuters has more. The India Daily has local coverage.
In a related story, the US Department of State [official website] has issued a statement criticizing Wednesday's municipal elections in Nepal [government website] as a "hollow attempt to legitimize [King Gyanendra's] power." The US pointed to the very low voter turnout, which early estimates put at less than 20 percent, as proof that the election was simply a show put on for external observers. The US also criticized the Maoist party for using violence in the name of political ideals and said that the only way to solve the issues concerning both the Maoists and Gyanendra was to restore true democracy to the country. Read the US State Department press release. eKantipur.com has more.
In other international legal news ...
- Indonesia's Ministry of Home Affairs has announced its intent to review all municipal bylaws that contain provisions relating to Sharia law [CFR backgrounder] to ensure their compliance with Indonesian constitutional provisions. Human rights activists in Indonesia have been highly critical of municipal laws based on Sharia law developed since 2001, when regions were given autonomy to propagate new laws and regulations specific to their location, as discriminatory towards minorities. The Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed that any laws found to be in violation of the constitution during the review would be rescinded. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.
- The head of Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) [advocacy website], which lobbies for a complete redrafting of the Zimbabwean Constitution, has issued a report arguing that external sanctions against Zimbabwe are making the situation in the country worse, rather than better. Dr. Lovemore Madhuku argued that sanctions put into place by the US, EU, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand are insufficient in scope to affect Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile], and have only entrenched anti-western attitudes more deeply in the Zimbabwean government. Madhuku argued that unless mandatory sanctions are implemented under the supervision of the UN Security Council [official website], Mugabe will continue to ignore world opinion. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has more.