International brief ~ Nepal forms judicial commission to investigate protest deaths
D. Wes Rist at 9:38 AM ET
[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, the newly formed political cabinet [JURIST report] in Nepal has agreed on the membership of a judicial commission that will investigate state police and security force actions during pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] last month that led to the capitulation of King Gyanendra [official profile], allowing the formation of a new democratic government in Nepal. Former Nepal Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Raymajhi will head the commission, which will have the power to investigate individuals suspected of contributing to the 19 deaths and hundreds of injuries that occurred during the protests. The new government has already vowed to pursue criminal prosecution of individuals alleged to have suppressed the protests. eKantipur.com has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- A deputy to one of the first individuals ever indicted by the International Criminal Court [official website] and an acknowledged perpetrator of crimes against humanity while serving in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [MIPT backgrounder] was called as a state witness by the prosecution in the Ugandan criminal trial of opposition leader Kizza Besigye [JURIST news archive]. Alfred Onen Kamdulu, a deputy to ICC indictee Joseph Kony [ICC arrest warrant, PDF], and a mastermind behind the death of thousands of Ugandans and the kidnapping of thousands of children for the LRA's "child army," was called as a prosecution witness who would allegedly link Besigye to the rebel LRA group and help the state prove charges of treason. Defense lawyers for Besigye and the other 22 defendants objected to Kamdulu's status as a witness and asked the court to disallow the prosecution the right to call Kamdulu as a witness, warning that permitting his testimony would set legal precedent for the state granting impunity to those alleged to have committed crimes against humanity. Public prosecutors asked for a recess to prepare a response and the court has adjourned until Tuesday. Uganda's Daily Monitor has local coverage.
- Three Indonesian judges who walked out of a bribery investigation into judicial officials as a sign of protest will have to appear before Indonesia's Judicial Commission and face possible punishment if their actions are determined to have been a violation of the judicial code of ethics or an act of contempt of court. The judges left after the presiding judge refused to call Indonesia's chief judicial official, Supreme Court Chief Justice Bagir Manan, to answer questions concerning evidence that implicates him in a judicial bribery scandal. All three judges are special appointees from universities, supposedly included on the investigation panel to give legitimacy to a review of judicial officials by judicial officials. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.
- The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) [official website] announced on Thursday that it would be sending expert representatives to assist [press release] an ongoing African Union [official website] investigation into allegations of sexual abuse [JURIST report] by AU peacekeepers in the Darfur region [JURIST news archive] of Sudan. The AU opened a Committee of Inquiry [AU press release, PDF] to investigate whether allegations of sexual abuse by AU peacekeepers were valid and to ensure proper prosecution of those accused, if the allegations are confirmed. UNIFEM has praised the AU for its prompt response to the initial allegations. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
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