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Legal news from Tuesday, March 1, 2005




CORRECTION ~ Assassinated Iraqi judge misidentified
Bernard Hibbitts on March 1, 2005 10:02 PM ET

[JURIST] Late reports from Baghdad say that US officials were incorrect in initially saying that Iraqi Special Tribunal judge Raid Juhi al-Saadi had been assassinated Tuesday, and that the judge actually killed was another man - as yet unnamed - serving as one of dozens of investigatory administrative judges working for the tribunal. FOX News has more.






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BREAKING NEWS ~ Saddam trial judge assassinated
Bernard Hibbitts on March 1, 2005 8:16 PM ET

[JURIST] FOX News is reporting that the Iraqi Special Tribunal [governing statute] judge overseeing the lagal proceedings against Saddam Hussein has been assassinated. Raid Juhi al-Saadi,35, was reportedly gunned down outside his home in Baghdad. He had already survived several assassination attempts and had recently moved into a special walled compound with his family that had been hardened against attacks.

In August 2004 New York Times reporter John Burns wrote in a feature article [registration required] that "If Raid Juhi al-Saadi is not the world's most endangered judge, he must be close." In a 2004 op-ed [reprint] in the Houston Chronicle, Case Western University law professor Michael Scharf, who has been involved in helping to train the Iraqi judiciary for war crimes prosecutions, similarly wrote of the dangers facing al-Saadi and his colleagues:

The tribunal's judges have risked their lives by accepting their commission, thus demonstrating the sort of courage needed to make fair decisions. Most impressive among those I met was Raid Juhi al-Saadi, the 35-year-old judge who presided over Saddam's initial appearance before the tribunal in June. Because of the extensive media coverage of that event, the judge has become perhaps the most recognized face in Iraq, next to that of Saddam's. The judge told me that he was given the option of not having his face shown on camera during the proceedings, but that he did not want the tribunal to be subject to the type of criticism that has been leveled at courts in Peru and Chile where judges wore hoods. He was willing to put his personal safety at risk to show the "face of Iraqi justice" and the tribunal's commitment to fairness.





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Environmental brief ~ DuPont settles for minimum of $107M in WV pollution case
Tom Henry on March 1, 2005 7:37 PM ET

[JURIST] In Tuesday's environmental law brief, the DuPont Co. [corporate website] has settled a complaint for $ 106.7M for polluting local drinking water around Parkersburg, West Virginia with the chemical C8. C8 is used for the manufacture of Teflon. The money will be used in a study to determine whether C8 harms humans, to pay plaintiff's attorney fees, and to remove the chemical from the local water supplies. If the study detects that C8 harms humans, DuPont will pay upward of $235M to establish a long-term medical monitoring program to help residents detect disease and seek early treatment. The Charleston Gazette has the full story.

In other news,

  • The EPA [official website] seeks comments on a rule that would require persons to notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing the manufacture, import, or processing of 2-ethoxyethanol (2-EE), 2-ethoxyethanol acetate (2-EEA), 2-methoxyethanol, or 2-methoxyethanol acetate (2-MEA) for domestic use in a consumer product or the manufacture or import of 2-MEA at levels greater than 10,000 pounds per year. Comments can be made here until May 2.





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Iran not cooperating with nuclear inspectors, IAEA says
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 4:51 PM ET

[JURIST] Iran [JURIST Countries archive] has refused to cooperate with UN nuclear inspection teams in the country, including blocking them from revisiting a site the US alleged was used for weapons development, the International Atomic Energy Agency [official website] said Tuesday. The IAEA Board of Directors, which is meeting this week, heard from IAEA Deputy Director Pierre Goldschmidt [IAEA news report] that Iran had refused a second visit to the Parchin military camp, a site recently inspected by IAEA officials. Iranian officials said there was no reason for a second inspection of the site. Iran has maintained that its nuclear programs are solely for electricity production, but the US has alleged the Iranian government of pursuing nuclear weapons. IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei warned [transcript] on Monday that Iran must do more to cooperate with international inspectors. Read a transcript of Goldschmidt's remarks. AFP has more.






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UK anti-terrorism law faces another hurdle in House of Lords
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 3:52 PM ET

[JURIST] New UK anti-terrorism legislation that passed the House of Commons [JURIST report] on Monday may face a tougher challenge in the House of Lords [official website] as debate began Tuesday. The bill's momentum was somewhat weakened after numerous members of the Labour Party rebelled on several votes on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill [text]. The Blair government is hoping to push the legislation through before the current anti-terrorism laws expire on March 14. However, members of the Lords said the rebellion in the Commons allows them to seek further changes to the contentious legislation. The government already agreed to leave authority to order house arrests with judges rather than the Home Office [official website], but opponents are seeking to have all "control orders" in the legislation, such as curfews and electronic tagging, subject to court authority. The government has argued the powers in the bill are needed to protect the country against terrorists plotting attacks in the UK. Reuters has more.






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EPA farm pollution rule illegal, 2nd Circuit rules
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 2:51 PM ET

[JURIST] The US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] has overturned EPA [official website] regulations designed to deal with water pollution from manure pollution on major farms. The court ruled Monday that the regulations [text, PDF], which took effect in February 2003 were not adequate to ensure that large farms would comply with requirements under the Clean Water Act [text, PDF] to control pollution. Major farms produce millions of tons of manure annually, with the waste carrying harmful bacteria and chemicals. Although the majority of states manage the Clean Water Act programs themselves, five state programs are managed by EPA. Several environmental groups, including the Waterkeeper Alliance [official website], challenged the regulations. View a Waterkeeper Alliance press release. Read the court's opinion [text, PDF]. AP has more.






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11th Circuit throws out $55 million verdict against Salvadoran generals
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 2:25 PM ET

[JURIST] The US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] has reversed a $54.6 million verdict against two retired Salvadoran generals for allegedly allowing torture and other abuses during a 12-year civil war in El Salvador. The court ruled Monday that the three victims had not proven circumstances that prevented them from filing the suit within the 10-year statute of limitations under the Torture Victim Protection Act [text] of 1991, which allowed US courts to decide cases involving torture in other countries. A jury convicted Salvadoran Gens. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova and Jose Guillermo Garcia, both of whom now live in the US, for allowing torture and other human rights violations during the civil war that ended in 1992. Read the court's opinion [text, PDF]. AP has more.






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BTK suspect charged with 10 counts of murder
Matt Lubniewski on March 1, 2005 1:39 PM ET

[JURIST] Dennis Rader, the man accused of being the BTK serial killer, was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder at a Kansas courthouse. The BTK killer, whose nickname stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill," was suspected of eight murders from 1974 to 1991, but authorities said Saturday they had linked two additional victims to the serial killer. Rader's arrest has prompted nearby law enforcement agencies to reinvestigate cold cases [AP story] that bear similarities to the string of slayings. A Kansas judge has appointed the state's public defender office to represent Rader. AP has more.






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Iraq PM warns of possible problems in constitutional negotiations
Matt Lubniewski on March 1, 2005 1:11 PM ET

[JURIST] Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi [BBC profile] has spoken out on the some of the obstacles in the way of drafting of a new permanent constitution for his country. Writing in the Wall Street Journal [subscription required] Monday, he said that "Our Founding Fathers must ensure the constitution guarantees basic rights for all Iraqis, safeguards our hard-won democracy and reflects fairly -- and is seen to reflect -- the views of Iraq's diverse population." He noted, however, that many difficult compromises will have to be made to satisfy Iraq's fragmented society of Sunni Arabs, Shi'ite Muslims, secular nationalists, Kurds, Christians, Turkmen and others, and warned that the short time frame the drafters will have to create the document will only add to their problems. Iraq's interim constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) [provisional government website] sets an initial date of August 15 for the completion of a draft. and calls for a national referendum on the proposed constitution by October 15. If the constitution is not created and voted on, there will be delays in the next general election, scheduled for December. The role of Islamic law in the Iraqi legal system is likely to be the subject of particular debate, as it was when the TAL was hammered out. Reuters has more.






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Militia leader arrested for killing of UN peacekeepers in Congo
Matt Lubniewski on March 1, 2005 1:04 PM ET

[JURIST] Floribert Ndjabu, leader of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front in the Democratic Republic of Congo [BBC country profile], was arrested Tuesday over the killing of nine UN peacekeepers last week. Ndjabu was captured in a health clinic in the capital city of Kinshasa. Ndjabu's militia operated in the lawless north-eastern region of Ituri. The UN has since suspended relief work in Ituri [UN News report], citing the high risk involved. Currently, there are 12,000 UN peacekeepers in the Congo, following a 2002 deal to end five years of civil war. BBC News has more.






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Senate Democrats balk at renomination of Myers to 9th Circuit
Matt Lubniewski on March 1, 2005 12:35 PM ET

[JURIST] Senate Democrats voiced their displeasure Tuesday over President Bush's renomination of Department of the Interior Solicitor William Myers [DOJ biography] to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats see the move as evidence that the Bush administration is not willing to compromise, and that the President persists on nominating the most extreme candidates to the federal bench. In a statement at today's latest confirmation hearing for Myers before the Senate Judiciary Committee, ranking Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) [official website] called Myers "perhaps the most anti-environmental judicial nominee sent to the Senate in my 30 years in representing Vermont in the US. Senate". Last year Democrats successfully blocked Myers' nomination. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter [official website] said that he chose Myers as the first re-advanced nominee to consider because he believes he can get Democrats to vote for Myers. AP has more.






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Agent Orange manufacturers, DOJ seek lawsuit dismissal
Matt Lubniewski on March 1, 2005 12:14 PM ET

[JURIST] Chemical companies that supplied Agent Orange [Wikipedia entry] to the US military in Vietnam asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Vietnamese citizens who say they were poisoned by their exposure. Lawyers for the Monsanto, Dow Chemical [official sites], and more than a dozen other defendant companies argued that US courts had no power to punish corporations for executing the orders of an American president acting as commander-in-chief. The defendants further argued that international law generally exempted corporations from civil liability for alleged war crimes. The plaintiffs allege that the chemical companies violated international law regarding chemical and biological weapons by producing the defoliant Agent Orange, which caused tumors, birth defects, and other health problems. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein was skeptical of the argument, analogizing that "The fact that all power was centralized under Hitler did not permit all people operating under his orders to violate international law." The US Justice Department [official site] also has asked Judge Weinstein to dismiss the case, arguing that allowing former wartime enemies to sue in US courts could threaten the government's power to wage war. Newsday has more. Review the complaint, briefs, and hearing transcripts in the case to date via FFRD.org.






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Malaysia begins crackdown on illegal immigrants
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 11:46 AM ET

[JURIST] Malaysia Tuesday began a campaign to round up an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants currently in the country, after extending an amnesty period [JURIST report] several times. Police and immigration officials conducted searches around the country in an effort to round up illegal workers. The program has caused tension with Indonesia, as the majority of the illegal workers are Indonesian. An estimated 400,000 immigrants took advantage of the amnesty offer that allowed them to return freely to their home countries. Those detained in the current campaign will be barred from returning to the country. Malaysian news agency Bernama has local coverage. The Financial Times has more.






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Rights groups sue Rumsfeld over prisoner abuses
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 11:08 AM ET

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First [advocacy websites] announced at a press conference Tuesday morning that they had filed a lawsuit in Illinois against US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] and several other US military officials on behalf of eight former detainees [ACLU profiles] who claim they were tortured and abused by US personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. The suit asserts that Rumsfeld bears direct responsibility for abuses and that his actions violated the US Constitution, federal statutes and international law. A similar suit against Rumsfeld was brought in Germany, but a German prosecutor later dismissed the complaint [JURIST report]. Read the complaints against Rumsfeld [text, PDF], Col. Thomas Pappas [text, PDF], Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski [text, PDF] and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez [text, PDF]. Read the ACLU and HRF press release. More on the suit is available from the ACLU [lawsuit website] and HRF [lawsuit website]. Reuters has more.






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Federal judge finds husband, mother dead in home
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 11:05 AM ET

[JURIST] A US district judge found her husband and mother murdered in her Chicago home Monday evening. Police did not provide any details on the killings, but media reports indicated that the bodies were those of Michael F. Lefkow and Donna Humphrey. White supremacist Matthew Hale was convicted in April 2004 for attempting to arrange the killing [NYT report] of District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow [official profile]. Lefkow had previously ordered Hale's group to stop using the name World Church of the Creator, which was already taken by another unrelated religious group, during a trademark infringement suit. Hale is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6. AP has more.






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Supreme Court holds government liable for contracts with Indian tribes
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 10:40 AM ET

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the US government was liable for agreements to cover contract costs for several Indian tribes despite arguments that Congress did not appropriate funds for the full amount. Under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act [text], tribes may undertake and be reimbursed for programs that would otherwise be provided by the government. Read the Court's full opinion [text, PDF] in Cherokee Nation of Okla. v. Leavitt per Justice Breyer. Justice Scalia concurred [text, PDF] in the opinion, with the exception of a portion relying on legislative history.






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BREAKING NEWS ~ Supreme Court strikes down death penalty for juveniles
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 10:17 AM ET

[JURIST] CBS News is reporting that the US Supreme Court [official website] has struck down the possibility of the death penalty for juvenile killers. SCOTUSBlog has more on the Court's 5-4 opinion in Roper v. Simmons, 03-633.

10:30 AM ET - In an opinion authored by Justice Kennedy, the Court wrote:

The differences between juvenile and adult offenders are too marked and well understood to risk allowing a youthful person to receive the death penalty despite insufficient culpability. An unacceptable likelihood exists that the brutality or cold-blooded nature of any particular crime would overpower mitigating arguments based on youth as a matter of course, even where the juvenile offender's objective immaturity, vulnerability, and lack of true depravity should require a sentence less severe than death. In some cases a defendant's youth may even be counted against him. In this very case, as we noted above, the prosecutor argued Simmons' youth was aggravating rather than mitigating. While this sort of overreaching could be corrected by a particular rule to ensure that the mitigating force of youth is not overlooked, that would not address our larger concerns.
The Court also took note of international trends away from the use of the death penalty on minors. Read the Court's full opinion [text, PDF]. Read Justice Stevens' concurrence [text, PDF] joined by Justice Ginsburg, as well as Justice O'Connor's dissent [text, PDF] and Justice Scalia's dissent [text, PDF] joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Thomas.

10:40 AM ET - A Reuters story is now available online.





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Corporations and securities brief ~ Entrepreneur charged in $200 million tax evasion scheme
Amit Patel on March 1, 2005 10:16 AM ET

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, telecommunications entrepreneur Walter Anderson, Washington business executive who earned nearly a half-billion dollars through off-shore ventures, was indicted in a $200 million income tax evasion scheme. The indictment charges Anderson with engaging in the elaborate tax evasion scheme, obstructing the IRS [official website], and defrauding the government by failing to pay taxes to the federal government and the District of Columbia. Anderson could face up to 80 years in prison. This is the largest personal tax evasion case ever brought by the Department of Justice [official website]. Read the Department of Justice press release. NBC News has more.

In other news...

Click for previous corporations and securities law news.





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Rhode Island smoking ban takes effect
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 9:52 AM ET

[JURIST] Rhode Island [government website; JURIST States archive] became the seventh state to ban smoking indoors Tuesday, as a state law [text] took effect at midnight. The ban covers all indoor workplaces and almost all bars and restaurants, but certain bars not serving food and private clubs have until October to comply with the law. Several state gambling facilities are exempt. Read more about the state's Tobacco Control Program. Even as the ban took effect, some lawmakers were moving to cut back on its breadth. State Rep. Joseph Faria has introduced a bill that would exempt neighborhood bars from the ban. AP has more.






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China disputes US critique of human rights record
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 9:26 AM ET

[JURIST] China Tuesday criticized a US State Department report on its human rights record, accusing the United States of using human rights to interfere in the country's internal affairs. A Chinese Foreign Ministry [official website] spokesman also alleged human rights abuses by the US, both at home and internationally, although it did not point to specific incidents. The report on China [text] was released Monday [JURIST report] by the US State Department [official website] as part of its annual review of human rights. Although the report found numerous advances in the protection of human rights in China, it concluded that serious abuses remained, including severe restrictions on freedom of speech and the press and on Internet use. Review the complete 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Reuters has more.






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US expands Gitmo torture inquiry
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 9:05 AM ET

[JURIST] The US military has appointed a three-star general to take over the investigation into alleged abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST Hot Topic] and extended the deadline for completion until March 31. Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall "Mark" Schmidt will take over the investigation. The appointment of a higher-ranking officer to lead the probe allows higher-ranking officials to be questioned, including Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who was in charge of the Guantanamo prisons for 18 months until being transferred to Iraq in April 2004. The US Southern Command [official website], which oversees the Guantanamo Bay military base, did not indicate what other officers would be questioned by investigators. Military rules require that any investigating officer outrank those being interviewed. The inquiry was opened in January after FBI documents were publicly released detailing abuses by interrogators. Reuters has more.






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International brief ~ UN report urges in-country courts martial for abusive peacekeepers
D. Wes Rist on March 1, 2005 9:05 AM ET

[JURIST] In Tuesday's international brief, a UN report not yet released publicly has called for in-country courts martial of UN peacekeepers [official website] who are accused of sexual abuse, according to a UN official. The report, written by Jordanian UN ambassador Prince Zeid al Hussein, suggests that the courts martial occur in the country where the complaints were made. Currently UN peacekeepers are responsible to their home country, and often receive no discipline after a complaint is made. The UN is attempting to pro-actively address the serious problems evidenced by the allegations of sexual abuse against UN peacekeepers [JURIST report] in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN undersecretary-general for peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno [official profile] had previously suggested the same idea and had been rebuffed. UN officials believe the proposal's inclusion in Hussein's report show that it is gathering support. South Africa's News 24 has more.

In other international legal news ...

  • Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha spoke Monday after a meeting with African Union [official website] commission chairman, Alpha Oumar Konare, reaffirming Sudan's committment to withdrawing its troops from Darfur this Friday. The withdraw of Sudan's military presence is one of the conditions to the continuation of talks between Sudan [government website] and the rebel forces in Darfur. The talks will be scheduled during the upcoming mini-summit in Cairo, Egypt on March 5 between the government and the rebels. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuting coverage on Sudan [JURIST Country news archive]. IRIN has the initial report.

  • Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone David M. Crane [official profile] informed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Monday that he will not be seeking reappointment to the office of prosecutor at the end of his current term in July. Crane was appointed in April 2002 and has issued 13 indictments in the worlds first hybrid tribunal. The Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website] is a joint operation between the UN and the national government of Sierra Leone [official website] to try those accused of serious human rights violations and war crimes committed during the country's violent civil war in the 1990's. According to the Statute of the Special Court [official text], only the UN Secretary-General can appoint an individual to the office of Prosecutor. The UN News Centre has more.

  • In the country's first democratic vote in 12 years [JURIST report], the citizens of Burundi [government website in French] have approved the proposal for a new constitution that would divide power-sharing in the government between Burundi's two major ethnic groups: the Tutsi and the Hutu. 80% of the votes have been counted, and there is overwhelming approval for the proposed constitution. Initial reports estimate that nearly 88% of the country's 3.1 million voters turned out to vote, and nearly 90% voted 'yes'. Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye [official profile in French] called the approval of the constitution an opportunity to open an "era of democracy" in the war-torn country. BBC News has more.





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France tops US for asylum applications, UN report concludes
Jeannie Shawl on March 1, 2005 8:17 AM ET

[JURIST] France has replaced the US as the industrialized nation receiving the most asylum applications from refugees, though overall numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Europe and North America have reached their lowest levels since 1988, according to report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees [official website] released Tuesday. According the UNHCR report, Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, 2004 [PDF text; UNHCR press release], France received the most asylum seekers at 61,600, followed by the US, Britain, Germany and Canada. The number of asylum claims in industrialized countries fell by 22 percent last year, and for most individual countries the number of total claims are the lowest in many years. Raymond Hall, Director of UNHCR's Europe Bureau, said "This really should reduce the pressure by politicians, media and the public to make asylum systems more and more restrictive to the point where many genuine refugees have enormous difficulty getting access to Europe, or getting recognized once they are there. In most industrialized countries it should simply not be possible to claim there is a huge asylum crisis any more." AP has more.






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Saddam lawyer criticizes Iraqi tribunal as illegitimate
Jeannie Shawl on March 1, 2005 7:58 AM ET

[JURIST] Ziad al-Khasawneh, head of Saddam Hussein's legal defense team, said Tuesday that plans to try Saddam before the Iraqi Special Tribunal [tribunal statute] are illegitimate. Al-Khasawneh said that the tribunal does not meet the requirements for a fair and safe trial and that he and other members of the defense team have been denied access to Saddam. Al-Khasawneh also said that "We believe Saddam and his colleagues should not be tried by any court," because under Iraqi law in force before the US-led occupation, Saddam and other leaders were immune to criminal charges and therefore are also not liable under international law. The special court issued referrals [JURIST report] Monday for five former members of Saddam's regime who will go on trial for crimes against humanity. No trial dates were provided in the announcement, but there is a minimum 45-day waiting period after a referral is issued before a trial can begin. AP has more. JURIST's Paper Chase has ongoing coverage [JURIST Newsmaker archive] of Saddam's trial.






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UK House of Commons passes anti-terror bill
Jeannie Shawl on March 1, 2005 7:40 AM ET

[JURIST] The UK House of Commons passed the Prevention of Terrorism Bill [PDF text] by a vote of 272-219 Monday, despite objections that the anti-terror bill didn't receive proper debate. Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] has said that he will amend the bill [JURIST report] so that judicial approval is necessary before the government can detain terror suspects under house arrest. Rather than include the amendment into the legislation considered by the House of Commons, Clarke promised that the amendment will be added to the bill when it is considered by the House of Lords Tuesday. Lawmakers face some urgency in passing the legislation as current rules allowing the detention of terror suspects will expire March 14. Bloomberg has more.






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Legal agenda and live webcasts ~ Tuesday, March 1
Chris Buell on March 1, 2005 12:01 AM ET

[JURIST] Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Tuesday, March 1.

The US Supreme Court [official website] will hear arguments in two cases today. At 10 AM ET, the Court will hear arguments in the consolidated cases of Exxon Corp. v. Allapattah Services and Ortega v. Starkist Foods, 04-70 and 04-79, in which it will consider whether federal courts can exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 USC § 1367 [text] over additional plaintiffs in a diversity action, where the plaintiffs do not meet the amount-in-controversy requirement. The ABA has merit briefs filed in the case. Following that, in Deck v. Missouri, 04-5293, the Court will consider whether allowing a capital defendant to be present during the penalty phase while handcuffed and shackled to a belly chain violates the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The ABA has merit briefs for the case.

The US Senate [official website] convenes at 9:45 AM ET this morning, and will continue consideration of S. 256 [bill summary], the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Watch a live webcast of proceedings. The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] will hold a 9:30 AM ET hearing to consider the nomination of William Gerry Myers III [Independent Judiciary profile] for the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Watch a live webcast of the hearing. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee [official website] will hold a hearing on the Food and Drug Administration's drug approval process at 9:30 AM ET. View a list of witnesses, and watch a live webcast of the hearing via C-SPAN.

The US House [official website] convenes at 2 PM ET today. Watch a live webcast of the session. The House Appropriations Committee [official website] Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Subcommittee will hear testimony from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the DOJ's FY 2006 budget at 10 AM ET. Watch a live webcast of the hearing. The House International Relations Committee [official website] Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo at 1:30 PM ET. View a list of witnesses, and watch a live webcast of the hearing. The House Agriculture Committee [official website] will hold a hearing on Canadian beef and cattle imports at 2 PM ET. Watch a live webcast via C-SPAN 3.

The ACLU [advocacy website] and Human Rights First [advocacy website] plan to announce a lawsuit against a high-ranking US official by eight men who claim they were tortured by US forces while being detained in Iraq and Afghanistan. The organizations will announced the suit at a 10:30 AM ET news conference. Read the media advisory.

The National Governors Association [official website] is holding a 9 AM ET forum on US healthcare with Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. Watch a live webcast via C-SPAN 3.

At the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the trial of Slobodan Milosevic [ICTY case backgrounder] continues, with a webcast beginning at 9:30 AM local time [3:30 AM ET]. Also today, the trial of Fatmir Limaj and others [ICTY case backgrounder] continues, with a webcast beginning at 2:45 PM local time [8:45 AM ET].






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