International brief ~ Sudan rejects UN peacekeeping force in Darfur

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's international brief, Sudan has issued a formal protest to the UN Envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk over his lobbying for a UN peacekeeping force in the Darfur region [JURIST news archive], and has rejected the growing call for the African Union to hand over control of the current peacekeeping mission to a fully international force. Sudan's foreign ministry said it was still willing to accept peaceful support from the UN, but viewed the current push for non-African peacekeepers as a violation of its sovereignty. Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha told a US delegation that Sudan was opposed to any use of international forces [Sudan Tribune report]. The protest comes as US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton [official profile] has announced his intent [Sudan Tribune report] to see a UN Security Council [official website] resolution on Darfur by the end of February. UN peacekeeping missions require the consent of the parties involved in the armed conflict unless a Security Council resolution is passed under the mandatory powers of Chapter VII of the UN Charter. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • The Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Nigerian state government of Borno to remove the Commissioner for Police and Director of the State Security Service from office, alleging that the two individuals were party to knowledge that the February 19 riot [JURIST report] which resulted in over a dozen individuals being killed and a disputed number of churches being burned was planned ahead of time. The rally began as a protest of the controversial cartoons [JURIST news archive] depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, but quickly turned violent, with rioters burning large portions of the Christian sector of the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. CAN has alleged that the commission set up to investigate the crime has been deliberately slow, refusing to interview witnesses who showed up at local police stations to file complaints. The government and CAN also disagree about the numbers killed and wounded, and the number of churches destroyed. The government places the death toll at below 15, including four Muslims, but CAN says it has confirmed that at least 50 of its members are dead and over 40 churches were destroyed or damaged by fire. Nigeria's Daily Sun has local coverage.

  • A senior member of the Zimbabwean Justice Ministry has revealed that the Zimbabwean government under President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] intends to present legislation that would change the steps taken after a currently seated member of parliament leaves or is expelled from his political party. Currently an MP that leaves the party he was elected under must relinquish his seat in Parliament and the seat is opened to a by-election. Mugabe reportedly wants to change the law to allow MPs to change their party alliance and join another party while retaining their current seat. Opposition members claim that the draft legislation is designed to take advantage of the current split in the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

  • Officials in South Korea's Ministry of Justice [official website] have announced their intent to implement a series of criminal justice reforms that include replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment and restoring national election voting rights to prisoner's convicted of "accidental" crimes. The reform measures will be researched for viability by Justice Ministry officials, who will compare the proposals to other countries' methods already in place. If favorable, the reform proposals would lend support to a death penalty abolition bill presented to the South Korean Parliament in 2004 that is due for a vote sometime this year. Read the official South Korean news report. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Korea [JURIST news archive]. Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.

 

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