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International brief ~ New Zealand wants Mugabe tried by ICC

[JURIST] Leading Monday's international brief, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff [official profile] has announced that the New Zealand government [official website] is currently investigating the possibility of bringing charges against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] before the International Criminal Court [official website]. Goff said that New Zealand was conducting its own investigation into Mugabe's actions in "Operation Murambatsvina" [Wikipedia backgrounder], the redevelopment and eviction program that has left tens of thousands homeless, and would be contacting neighboring African nations as well as the European Union for more information. Goff did not specify what charges would be brought against Mugabe. Goff also declared New Zealand's intent to see Zimbabwe expelled from the International Monetary Fund [official website] for failing to make payments on its debts, unless "there’s change in Zimbabwe." Zimbabwe is already strapped for funds to meet its daily operating costs, and Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is meeting Monday with South Africa’s Finance Minister Trevor Manuel to appeal for a financial rescue package [ZimOnline report]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • A provisional peace agreement [Jakarta Post report] called the Helsinki Accord between the Indonesian government [official website] and the Free Aceh Movement [Wikipedia profile], the largest rebel group in the northern Indonesian province of conflict-riddled Sumatra, has met strenuous opposition in the Indonesian parliament, as it would require changing the national law on political parties. As part of the peace agreement, the government seems to have acceded to rebel demands that the rebels be allowed to form their own political party. Indonesian Law No. 31/2002 on the establishment of political parties currently prohibits the creation of any political party that does not have representation in at least half of Indonesia's 33 provinces. Vice-President Jusuf Kalla [Wikipedia profile] warned that the peace deal would require a constitutional amendment to allow for the creation of a local political party, and many legislators have expressed concern that allowing one local political party will cause other separatist groups to demand the same right, perhaps leading to further succession attempts from the Jakarta government. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. The Jakarta Post has local coverage. BBC News has more.

  • The Sudanese Council of Ministers [government website] was dissolved Sunday following its final meeting in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. As part of the changes mandated by the recently adopted [JURIST report] interim constitution [draft PDF text], the new transitional Sudanese government, made up of many of the rebel groups that spent the last two decades fighting against the central government, will select representatives from accross the political spectrum to serve as ministers in a new Council. Outgoing Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail [Sudan Online profile] said the dissolved council was happy to see the change, and viewed it as the "threshold of a new era." Ismail also revealed that while some of the current ministers will be returning, he will not be in the newly constructed council. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

  • The Lebanese Parliament [official website in Arabic] has granted full amnesty to Samir Geagea [profile, advocacy website] during its first legislative session since the recent national elections. Geagea, former leader of the Lebanese Forces [Wikipedia profile], a paramilitary group that fought in the country's long civil war, was a staunch opponent to Syrian involvement in Lebanon and formed an alliance with Israel to fight against Syrian intrusions, and current popular disdain for Syria in Lebanon, along with a majority of parliament belonging to a coalition made up of former LF members, led to his life sentence being waived. Geagea is expected to be released this weekend and travel directly to Europe. Geagea had been convicted of four counts of ordering the assassination of political figures and was sentenced to death for all four. His death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment at hard labor. Lebanon's Daily Star has local coverage. BBC News 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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