Bagaragaza has provided invaluable assistance to the Prosecution in its investigations. His assistance started before he was indicted without concern for self-incrimination, continued without reservation after he was indicted and detained, and he has indicated his willingness to also assist in the future. Bagaragaza has thereby, to a remarkable degree, contributed to the process of truthfinding with respect to the Rwandan tragedy and to national reconciliation. This warrants a substantial reduction of the sentence that the gravity of his offence would otherwise carry.
The eight-year prison term includes the four years Bagaragaza has already spent in custody at The Hague and in Arusha, Tanzania.
Bagaragaza pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last month to the charge of complicity in genocide, after which the prosecution submitted an amended indictment [hearing minutes, PDF] dropping the charges of genocide and conspiracy to commit genocide. Bagaragaza was transferred [JURIST report] from The Hague to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, in May 2008 after a Dutch court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to try his case. In August 2007, the ICTR revoked [JURIST report] a previous order transferring Bagaragaza's case to a local court in the Netherlands after the country expressed doubt that its court system could handle the trial. In 2006, the ICTR denied [JURIST report] a request by the prosecution to transfer Bagaragaza's trial to Norway because Norway did not have a specific law against genocide. Bagaragaza surrendered [JURIST report] to the ICTR in August 2005.
In order to maintain a sound economy, we must improve investor protection and confidence. The Investor Protection Act aims to achieve these goals while also improving enforcement powers at the US Securities and Exchange Commission and implementing a fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisers to ensure that customers' interests are at the forefront of investment recommendations. Our financial system has failed far too many investors for far too long and we must change course. I believe this bill has the capabilities to address many of the problems we continue to face.
With its passage by a strict party-line vote, the bill now moves to the full House, though committee chair Barney Frank (D-MA) [official website] indicated on Tuesday that full House voting on this and other financial reform measures is not likely to begin until December [WSJ report].
In the wake of the collapse of the housing and credit markets, as well as the Bernard Madoff scandal [JURIST news archive], financial services reform has been a focus of lawmakers in 2009. In late October, the House Financial Services Committee approved proposed legislation that would establish transparency in credit rating agencies [JURIST report]. That same week, the committee also approved a bill to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, an agency that President Barack Obama called for [JURIST reports] in June. In early September, the SEC inspector general released a report [JURIST report] outlining missteps by the agency in failing to detect the Ponzi scheme that led to Madoff's investors losing an estimated $21 billion.
Karadzic faces 11 counts [indictment, PDF] of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war. The charges arise from crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, including those committed in the Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Karadzic has claimed immunity from proceedings, but the ICTY has rejected [JURIST report] his argument. Karadzic was originally indicted [text, PDF] by the ICTY in 1995 but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest [JURIST report] in July 2008. Prior ICTY estimates [statement, PDF] have identified Karadzic's trial as the tribunal's last, although ICTY fugitives Ratko Mladic [BBC profile] and Goran Hadzic [PBS profile] have yet to be apprehended [JURIST report].
[JURIST] Sri Lanka's Chief of Defense Staff General Sarath Fonseka [official profile] returned home [press release] Thursday without being questioned by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] about alleged war crimes. Fonseka, a US permanent resident with a diplomatic passport and a Green Card, had traveled to the US to visit his daughters in Oklahoma. The Sri Lankan government was concerned that the DHS was seeking testimony from Fonseka against Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa [official profile] on allegations of human rights violations. Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry released a statement saying:
[Fonseka] was not subjected to any questioning prior to his departure by the United States Department of Homeland Security or any other agency of the US Government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appreciates the receptive and constructive attitude adopted by the US authorities, which in turn allowed General Fonseka to leave the United States without any damage to the national interest of Sri Lanka and to the dignity of his Office.
Earlier this week, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama [official website] objected [JURIST report] to the plans and asserted that any information from Fonseka is privileged and cannot legally be shared with a third party without consent from the Sri Lankan government.
The allegations of human rights violations originate from incidents that took place during the final months of Sri Lankas civil war by both the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST archive]. Last month, the US Department of State (DOS) [official website] released a report [text, PDF] on the conflict urging [JURIST report] Sri Lankan officials to investigate reports of human rights violations and war crimes and prosecute those responsible. While the government of Sri Lanka rejected [statement] the findings of the DOS report, President Mahinda Rajapaksa [official website] decided last month to appoint an independent committee [JURIST report] to investigate allegations of human rights violations.
[JURIST] Two senior Indonesian law enforcement officials resigned Thursday after being linked to an alleged plot to weaken the Corruption Eradication Commisions (KPK) [official website, in Indonesian], an anti-corruption agency. Deputy Attorney General Abdul Hakim Ritonga and Chief Detective Susno Duadjia were mentioned by name [Jakarta Globe report] in a tape recorded conversation about a plan to fabricate charges [Al Jazeera report] against KPK leaders. The tapes were released by the KPK [press release, in Indonesian] and played as part of the defense of two KPK officials, Chandra Hamzah and Bibit Samad Riyanto, during nationally televised court proceedings. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono [official profile] said that more resignations or suspensions may be forthcoming since he advised law enforcement officials to suspend [BBC report] those whose names were mentioned in the tapes.
[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Thursday announced that he will ask the ICC to open a formal inquiry into violence perpetrated in the wake of Kenya's 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. Following a meeting to discuss the ICC inquiry with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and opposition leader Raila Odinga [campaign website], Moreno-Ocampo said that crimes against humanity committed during the post-election period justify an ICC investigation.
I consider the conflict in Kenya were crimes against humanity and I consider, that, therefore, the gravity is there, so therefore I should proceed. So I informed them in December I will request to the judges of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation.
Moreno-Ocampo first stated his intentions [JURIST report] to pursue the matter in October, citing Kenyas ratification of the Rome Statute [text, PDF] as grounds for jurisdiction.
In August, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called for an independent tribunal [JURIST report] with international support and participation because "the Kenyan judiciary lacks independence," and the necessary reforms announced [transcript] by the Kenyan Cabinet [official website] in late July would be insufficient. Earlier in July, Moreno-Ocampo received and reviewed a sealed envelope sent to the ICC [JURIST reports] by former UN secretary-general and current chairman of the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities Kofi Annan [UN profile] that contained a list of suspects believed to be responsible for the violence. More than 1,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced following allegations of fraud [JURIST report] in the country's presidential election.
[JURIST] The New York Attorney General [official website] on Wednesday filed an antitrust suit [complaint, PDF; press release] against Intel [corporate website], alleging that the microprocessor manufacturer engaged in illegal conduct to further its dominance in the marketplace. The complaint alleges that Intel obtained exclusive contracts from manufacturers in exchange for large payments. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo claims that many of these agreements were aimed at specifically disadvantaging Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) [corporate website], one of the company's strongest competitors. Such agreements are claimed to have been enforced despite not being part of any written contract. The complaint also alleges that Intel threatened to withhold funding or development from computer companies if they marketed or promoted AMD-based systems. Computer manufacturers allegedly involved in these agreements include IBM, HP, and Dell [corporate websites]. Cuomo commented on the suit:
Rather than compete fairly, Intel used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market. Intel's actions not only unfairly restricted potential competitors, but also hurt average consumers who were robbed of better products and lower prices. These illegal tactics must stop and competition must be restored to this vital marketplace.
The investigation, which began [JURIST report] in January 2008, is based largely on internal e-mail correspondence and documents from various computer manufacturers as well as witness testimony.
The DFPR's decisiont to grant a grace period followed a ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] in July by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] that reversed a district court injunction [JURIST report] barring the law's enforcement. The 1995 law, which has never been enforced, authorizes state judges to waive the notice requirement if doing so would be in a minor's best interest, but otherwise requires parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. Controversy on abortion laws has also continued in other states. In August, a judge in the US District Court for the District of South Dakota [official website] issued a ruling [JURIST report] clarifying that South Dakota doctors are required to tell women seeking an abortion that they are about to terminate a unique human life before performing the procedure, partially upholding a state law. In the same month, an Oklahoma state court judge ruled [JURIST report] that a state law [SB 1878, DOC] requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound within an hour of the procedure violates the Oklahoma Constitution [text].
[JURIST] The Ohio Supreme Court [official website] set dates [announcement, PDF] Wednesday for two inmates to be executed by lethal injection [JURIST news archive], despite a temporary stay on executions in the state. Michael Bueke is scheduled to be executed on May 13 of next year, and Richard Nields is scheduled to be executed on June 10. Ohio's lethal injection process is currently under review after the failed execution of Romell Broom [JURIST report] in September, but Governor Ted Strickland expects the review process to be completed before the end of the year [press release].
Executions in Ohio have been postponed since September. Last month, a federal court delayed the execution of Kenneth Biros, and Strickland issued a temporary reprieve [JURIST reports] for Lawrence Reynolds and Darryl Durr. The controversy over Ohio's lethal injection procedures began when, during Broom's execution, officials failed on multiple attempts over two hours to find his vein for the lethal injection. A federal judge eventually issued an order delaying his execution.
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