International brief ~ South Korea to create national DNA database of sex offenders

[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, South Korea has announced plans to create a national database containing the genetic profiles of individuals convicted of criminal sexual offenses and a national registry accessible by the public that would list names and addresses of convicted sex offenders. The plan would also limit the ability of convicted sex offenders to work in certain jobs, like teaching and businesses with high levels of contact with minors. Choi Jae-cheon, a legislator from the ruling Uri political party, told reporters that the planned legislation would be carefully scrutinized to ensure that the public's civil rights were not violated and that the use of the database and registry would be permissible under the South Korean Constitution [PDF text]. The plan will also allow child witnesses in court cases to have their own legal representation as well as change criminal justice laws to permit children to testify via closed-circuit television, instead of having to appear in court before the accused. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Korea [JURIST news archive]. Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] has appointed former Kenyan ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat to head up an newly reconstituted Constitutional Review Commission. The previous attempt by Kibaki's administration to reform the Constitution led to widespread protests and an embarrassing defeat in a national referendum [JURIST report] which rejected the government-approved draft constitution. The panel will be comprised of 15 members, mainly pulled from academia, the legal profession, and a few former government officials, as opposed to the previous commission, which was criticized as consisting of "yes-men" for Kibaki. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Kenya [JURIST news archive]. The Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation has local coverage.

  • Nine Hindu Indians were convicted by an Indian sessions court for setting fire to the Best Bakery [Wikipedia backgrounder] in Vadodara, India during anti-Muslim riots in 2002. The nine individuals were sentenced to life imprisonment after having originally been acquitted of any criminal wrongdoing, along with 14 others, in a "fast-track" court proceeding in 2003. The Indian state of Gujarat [government website] appealed the acquittal [Rediff.com report] and the appellate court granted a retrial. Eight other defendants were acquitted this time, and four more remain at large. The arson in 2002 resulted in 14 deaths and has deeply divided the Muslim and Hindu communities that live in the area. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of India [JURIST news archive]. The Times of India has local coverage. AFP has more.

  • Another 61 women were arrested in Harare, Zimbabwe on Thursday after protesting against plans to hold a large birthday celebration for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile], claiming that Mugabe's celebration was taking food away from already starving Zimbabweans. The women were arrested, but have yet to be charged with a crime and their lawyer has protested to the police chief concerning the conditions they are being held in. Their lawyer indicated that police plan to charge them with failing to obtain a permit to protest under the Public Order and Security Act. The arrests follow the recent release of 43 women previously arrested [JURIST report] for the same type of protests earlier this week. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.


 

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