[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said today that two Dutch international aid workers affiliated should not have been arrested for allegedly falsifying a report on rape in Darfur [JURIST report]. Paul Foreman and Vince Hoedt, both directors for Medecins Sans Frontieres [NGO website], were arrested because they refused to reveal the sources used to create their report on rape in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. The arrests were greeted with international outcry, prompting strong criticism [MSF report] from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and other international officials. Ismail refused to confirm that the charges were being dropped, but said that a "resolution was in sight." JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association [backgrounder] has filed for a court-ordered stay of the current eviction process going on in the Zimbabwean capital city of Harare, where police have evicted thousands of people and destroyed their illegally constructed dwellings. ZimRights filed the application for a stay in conjunction with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which previously filed to stop the arrests of illegal merchants and vendors [JURIST report] that are another part of the crackdown throughout Zimbabwe by police officials. ZimRights Director Munyaradzi Bidi has challenged the evictions as poorly planned by the government and has pointed to the hundreds of families now migrating to the rural areas surrounding Harare as evidence of the need for a stay on evictions and demolitions until the government comes up with alternative housing. Bidi said that estimates of the numbers evicted are as high as 200,000. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said Tuesday that arrests of illegal merchants and squatters has reached 22,735 individuals. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. IRIN News has more.
- The UN Mission in Burundi [official website] announced Tuesday that it has increased UN military presence on the streets in major cities throught the nation in preparation for the first of four upcoming national elections to be held on Friday. ONUB spokesperson Penangnini Toure said that UN forces would be policing gatherings in the capital city of Bujumbura as well as other cities to ensure that peace is maintained. The Friday election is the first of a series of elections that represent the end of the UN outlined 43 month transitional phase. ONUB will also be deploying over 350 voting observers Friday to monitor and report on voting conditions throughout Burundi [government website in French]. Burundi's final election is scheduled for 19 August and will determine the countries first new president under the reorganized government. Read the press release [official PDF text in French] from ONUB Special Representative Carolyn McAskie [appointment text] calling on cooperation from all faction leaders in Friday's election. IRIN News has more.