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International brief ~ Sudan Darfur court questions status in light of ICC probe

[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, the special criminal tribunal [JURIST report] created by the Sudanese government [official website] to begin the process of trying individuals alleged to have committed war crimes in Darfur is reportedly questioning its legal status to try certain individuals in light of the recently opened investigation by the International Criminal Court [official website]. Several Sudanese government ministers have suggested the that tribunal is a substitute for the ICC and eliminates the need for any international investigation. The Rome Statute [official PDF text] of the ICC allows for complementarity between domestic courts and the international judicial body, so long as the legitimacy and validity of the local judicial system is considered to meet the minimum of international standards. Rights groups have charged Sudan with creating the special tribunal merely to avoid the ICC [Amnesty International press release], criticizing the Sudanese judiciary as incapable of conducting truly fair and impartial trials. Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir [Wikipedia profile] has repeatedly stated that no Sudanese citizen will be surrendered to the ICC's jurisdiction. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. IRIN News has more.

In related news, the Sudanese National Constitution Commission announced Thursday that all of the international charters and conventions addressing human rights and individual freedoms that have currently been signed and ratified by the current Sudanese government are being included in the Sudanese Interim Constitution. The Commission spokesperson announced that the conventions and charters, included in Article 27 of the Interim Constitution, will be given full weight before domestic courts, allowing individual citizens to bring private causes of actions against the government for failure to maintain those rights. The Commission also announced the inclusion of a provision that will prevent any of those rights and freedoms from being confiscated or revoked by any form of legislation. The Commission is made up of members from several of the larger rebel groups in Sudan, as well as government representatives and domestic legal experts and was a result of the historic January peace accords [JURIST report] in Sudan. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] signed the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Kubatana backgrounder] in the beginning of June, the Zimbabwe Attorney General's Office revealed Friday. The law creates stricter penalties for journalists convicted of intentionally publishing information determined by the court to be "wholly or materially false" and raises the allowble term of incarceration from between 5 to 15 years to 10 ot 20 years. The law cannot be implemented until a statutory implemention document is released, and the Attorney General's Office announced that it expected the instrument early next week. Zimbabwe currently has some of the strictest press laws on record and systematically refuses entrance to the nation by foreign journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists [advocacy website] currently ranks Zimbabwe as one of the three most dangerous locations for journalists in the world. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

  • The Nepali Monarchy [government website] is planning to introduce University Ordinance 20-61 soon according to a statement by the Nepal University Grants Commission [official website] spokesperson on Friday. The legislation would give King Gyanendra [official profile] the office of Chancellor at all publicly and privately funded universities currently in existance in Nepal, and in all those established after the bill's passage. The reported aim of the bill is to remove the 'politicization of higher education' from different universities and ensure that unity exists among the academic community in Nepal. The Ministry of Education [government website] recommended the bill in cooperation with experts employed by the UGC after a dispute arose about whether the office of Prime Minister, whose last occupant was forcibly dismissed by Gyanendra, should retain the Chancellorship at certain influential universities. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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