[JURIST] A US Bureau of Prisons [official website] evaluation has concluded that alleged terrorist Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] is competent to stand trial. Previous evaluations of Padilla [JURIST report] by a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist suggested that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his years in detention in a US naval brig as an "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive], affecting his ability to assist his lawyers in preparing his defense. The latest evaluation, included in court documents filed Friday, however, indicates that Padilla understands the court proceedings and can communicate with his lawyers.
Padilla, a US citizen initially suspected of planning to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" [NRC factsheet] in the United States and classified in 2002 as an enemy combatant subject to indefinite detention, was indicted [JURIST report] in late 2005 on unrelated terrorism charges. He was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January of last year and has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report]. AP has more.
[JURIST] The Canadian government of Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper will likely allow two provisions of its Anti-Terrorism Act [text; CBC backgrounder] to expire at the end of next week now that the opposition Liberal Party [political party website] has withdrawn its support for the clauses. The controversial provisions include a preventive arrest clause that allows police to arrest suspects without warrant and an investigative hearing clause that allows judges to force individuals to testify in terror cases.
Some Liberals say the clauses, which have never been used, are unnecessary and trample on civil liberties. Conservatives, however, argue that Canada still faces terrorism threats and that the government has demonstrated that it will not abuse its power under the act. The Conservative Party [political party website] presented a motion in Canada's House of Commons Friday that would have extended the provisions for three years. The Ottawa Citizen has more.
[JURIST] US ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Douglas McElhaney has told the Nezavisne Novine [media website] daily that the US wants the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] to stay open beyond the end of its scheduled trials in 2008 and appeals in 2010 until police arrest two of the tribunal's most wanted fugitives. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile] and his military commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] are wanted by the ICTY for alleged crimes committed during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, including organizing the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica [JURIST news archive]. Both Karadzic and Mladic have been charged and indicted [BBC report] at the ICTY in absentia. AFP has more.
Earlier this week departing ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte [official profile] told a conference that the tribunal had achieved marked success [JURIST report] in bringing international war criminals to justice, noting that while six war crimes suspects are still at large, the court has succeeded in putting on trial more than 160 people, including presidents, premiers, and military commanders.
[JURIST] A US Justice Department spokesman said late Friday that the federal appeals court decision [opinion, PDF] giving suspected Iraq terrorist Shawqi Omar [JURIST news archive] the right to argue his case before a US court [JURIST report] will "inappropriately interfere with the executive branch's prerogative to prosecute a war."
Omar, who the US describes as a close associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [BBC profile], was arrested in Baghdad in October 2004 after he was caught harboring an Iraqi insurgent and a group of foreign fighters illegally in Iraq. Omars family says he is an innocent businessman who was seeking reconstruction contracts in Iraq, and will likely be tortured if removed from US custody. AP has more.
[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official profile; JURIST news archive] Saturday criticized what he called the "dangerous" use of force by the United States in the face of international law in a hard-hitting speech [audio, in Russian; press release] at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy [official website]. Speaking to a forum of over 250 participants from more than 40 countries, Putin said the almost "uncontained" use of US force had overstepped the scope of its sovereignty in the pursuit of its national interests, and observed that the Bush administration's doctrine of preventive war was destabilizing as other states were more likely to engage in nuclear proliferation when they thought they were in danger. "Nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law," said Putin, according to a translation of his remarks provided by AP.
Putin also voiced concern at NATO's expansion [JURIST report], and criticized US plans for missile defense systems. AP has more.
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [official website] Friday upheld [opinion, PDF] a 2004 ruling [text, PDF] that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) [official website] had jurisdiction over tribunal businesses including casinos, placing the tribes under the National Labor Relations Act [text], which bars unfair labor practices and gives workers the right to organize and bargain with employers. The opinion states that "tribal sovereignty in American law... recognizes the independence of [Indian communities] as regards [to] internal affairs... [giving] latitude to maintain traditional customs and practices [but does not confer] absolute autonomy [and] permit a tribe to operate in a commercial capacity without legal constraint."
Lawyers for the San Manuel tribe [tribe website] argued [JURIST report] before the court in November that tribal sovereignty exempted tribal casinos from federal labor laws. NLRB attorneys say they are trying to protect the rights of more than 250,000 casino workers across the country's 400 plus tribal casinos. Unions have stated that absent the protection of federal labor regulations, they doubt unions will be able to guarantee fair labor practices and bargaining power for casino workers. AP has more.
[JURIST] US District Judge Lawrence Karlton [official profile] ruled in California Friday that the state's Proposition 83 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] could not be applied retroactively to sex offenders released before its approval because there was nothing in the measure that indicated that intent. The measure prohibits registered sex offenders [JURIST news archive] from "residing within 2,000 feet of any public or private school or park where children regularly gather."
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