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International brief ~ Sudan domestic war crimes tribunal to open Tuesday

[JURIST] Leading Monday's international brief, Sudan's domestic war crimes tribunal is scheduled to hold its first hearings Tuesday in the capital city of Khartoum, according to Sudanese Justice Minister Ali Mohammed Yassin. Yassin said that over 160 individuals indicted on various war crimes and crimes against humanity that allegedly occurred in the Darfur region of Sudan would begin appearing before the tribunal tomorrow. The UN has expressed doubt [JURIST report] over the capability of Sudan's judicial system to handle the trials, and Amnesty International [advocacy website] issued a statement Monday that attacked the Sudanese judicial system [Amnesty International report] as wholly inadequate to provide fair trials, unless a significant restructuring of an independent judiciary occurred. Many commentators have expressed concern that the Sudan tribunal is merely a way for the national government to avoid prosecution by the International Criminal Court [official website] under the recently opened investigation [JURIST report] referred by the UN Security Council. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • South African President Thabo Mbeki [Wikipedia profile] called a special meeting of both houses of the South African Parliament [government website] for Tuesday, annoncing his intention to "deal with issues arising from the judgment of Judge Hilary Squires" who recently handed down a conviction [JURIST report] on corruption charges against Schabir Shaik [Wikipedia profile], long time financial advisor to South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma [official profile]. Mbeki, traditionally strong in his stance against corruption in the government, has faced increasingly strident calls for the dismissal of Zuma, who is widely believed to be Mbeki's personal choice for succession as South African president. Officials from the ruling African National Congress party [official website] have denied rumors of a split in their ranks concerning Zuma's fate, and have described calls for Zuma's dismissal as extreme and unnecessary. There is no word on what Mbeki is likely to tell Parliament. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Africa [JURIST news archive]. South Africa's News 24 has local coverage.

  • Zimbabwean Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche [Africa People Database profile] has denied that there was any need for outside aid for the targets of the Zimbabwean government's mass eviction and arrest program called Operation Restore Order, and instructed all regional govenors in Zimbabwe [government website] to ban all aid from national and international NGOs that targeted those affected by the evictions and has warned that criminal charges will be filed against NGOs defying the ban. Over 22,000 shopkeepers and merchants [JURIST report] have been confirmed as arrested by the state, leaving their families with no income for food or clothing, and there are an estimated 200,000 families that have been evicted around the nation from their illegal shanties and squatter towns [JURIST report] in the major cities. The government has forcibly relocated many of these families to the rural areas, where the nation's already crippling food shortage is at its worst. Human rights groups are allegedly working secretly to provide housing, food, medicines, and clothing, and are publicly challenging the government to allow them to help, since the over 70% unemployment rate in Zimbabwe means that almost none of the evicted families will be able to find work. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

  • The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia has begun the transition back to Somalia from its current exiled location in Nairobi, Kenya. Somali Interim President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed [Wikipedia profile] and the rest of the government will take up residence in the town of Jowhar until arrangements are finalized for the return of the government [JURIST report] to the capital city of Mogadishu. There is a continuing debate on whether Somalia should request UN peacekeepers to secure the are while the transition is occurring. Somali Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Gedi [Africa People's Database profile] had been speaking in Modadishu earlier in the year when bombs were set off in protest of the transitional government, which has been opposed by many of the feuding warlord clans. IRIN has more.

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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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