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ICC summons witnesses in trial of Kenya VP Ruto
2:30 PM ET, April 18
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court [official website] on Thursday granted the prosecution's request to subpoena eight Kenyan witnesses [decision, PDF; press release] in the trial of Kenyan Vice President William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive]. The witnesses are no longer cooperating and are not willing to testify against Ruto, which caused the court to urge the government of Kenya to serve the witnesses with subpoenas and ensure they appear in court. The witnesses could appear by video-link if necessary....... [full story]

Kosovo prime minister calls for vote on creating court for Balkans war crimes
1:39 PM ET, April 18
[JURIST] Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci [official website] on Thursday called on the nation's parliament to vote on creating a European Union-backed tribunal to investigate allegations of harvesting organs from dead Serbs during the 1990s Balkans war. In a press release [text], Thaci stated, "although the issue is completely unfair and offensive to the state of Kosovo, the Kosovo Assembly should decide." The push for the proposed tribunal stems [Reuters report] from a 2011 Council of Europe report alleging that...... [full story]

Ukraine asks ICC to investigate protester deaths
1:03 PM ET, April 18
[JURIST] The Ukrainian government urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday to open an investigation [press release] into any serious international crimes committed within the territory from late 2013 to early 2014. The possible crimes committed within Ukraine include acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Earlier this year the Ukrainian parliament began to ask the ICC to open investigations into possible crimes committed by former president Viktor Yanukovich in an effort to subdue protests...... [full story]

China court sentences anti-corruption activists to jail
10:45 AM ET, April 18
[JURIST] A Chinese court on Friday convicted activists with ties to the New Citizens Movement [advocacy website, in Chinese; WSJ backgrounder] on the grounds of gathering a mob to disturb the public. The New Citizens Movement is a grass-roots organization which seeks to draw attention to matters of public concern, including equal access to education and disclosure of Chinese officials' personal assets, in order to combat public corruption. Four human rights lawyers were all sentenced to at least two years...... [full story]

Netherlands high court bans pedophile group
9:27 AM ET, April 18
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of The Netherlands [official website, in Dutch] on Friday banned [ruling, in Dutch] an online group, "Martijn," that advocates for the legalization of pedophilia. The court held that the dangers of pedophilia are too great to allow the group to continue. This is because, the court reasoned, children are particularly vulnerable, and the protections they require justifies using the extraordinary relief of disbanding Martijn. In addition, the court agreed with the prosecutor's arguments that victims of...... [full story]

UN rights group calls for North Korea to be prosecuted before ICC
9:03 AM ET, April 18
The chief investigator from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Thursday appealed to the UN Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] for alleged crimes against humanity. The call to act came as a result of February's report [JURIST report] in which the Commission detailed North Korea's human rights violations, which include murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence,...... [full story]

Diplomats promise amnesty for Ukraine protesters
8:18 AM ET, April 18
[JURIST] Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU on Thursday issued a joint statement [text] on the situation in Ukraine after a Ukrainian military base was attacked in an act of increasing violence between government troops and pro-Russia militias. The statement promises amnesty "to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes." The Organization of Security and Cooperation Special Monitoring Mission [official website]...... [full story]

Kyrgyzstan parliament approves amendments on spreading false information
12:23 PM ET, April 17
[JURIST] The Kyrgyz parliament [official website, in Kyrgyz] on Wednesday approved amendments to Kyrgyzstan's Criminal Code that criminalize the spreading of false information through the media. Under the new amendments, which lawmaker Eristina Kachkarova said are not meant to target journalists or media outlets [RFE/RL report], those found guilty of intentionally spreading false information through media outlets will face a fine of up to $4,000 or a jail sentence of up to five years. According to lawmaker Omurbek Abdrakhmanov, however,...... [full story]

Human rights groups urge Nepal to reject amnesty legislation
10:53 AM ET, April 17
[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [advocacy websites] urged [press release] Nepalese legislators [official website] on Thursday to reject certain sections of the proposed Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) [text, PDF] bill for violating international law. The advocacy groups are concerned that the bill includes language from a 2012 executive order that allowed amnesty for crimes committed during Nepal's civil war. Nepal's Supreme Court rejected [JURIST report] this blanket amnesty legislation, ruling...... [full story]

Saudi Arabia detains prominent human rights lawyer
10:31 AM ET, April 17
[JURIST] Notable human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair [HRW backgrounder] was was taken into custody in Saudi Arabia Tuesday after a hearing at the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh. Abu al-Khair, founder and chief of the human rights group Saudi Arabia Monitor of Human Rights, faces charges [AP report] that include inciting public opinion. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Wednesday condemned [press release] Abu al-Khair's imprisonment demanding his immediate release. In their press release AI criticized Saudi authorities stating...... [full story]

For more world and US legal news from today, yesterday, and back to January 2003, check JURIST's Paper Chase Archive.


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