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Legal news from Thursday, January 29, 2009
by Jaclyn Belczyk

The Illinois State Senate voted unanimously Thursday to convict Governor Rod Blagojevich of abuse of power and remove him from office. Blagojevich, who had been boycotting the impeachment proceedings, arrived on the Senate floor Thursday to make a final plea to remain in office. Although Blagojevich claimed innocence, the senators …

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by Caitlin Price

The European Commission announced Thursday that it has initiated infringement proceedings against ten European Union (EU) member states for failing to comply with legislation aimed at reducing emissions of certain harmful airborne particulates called PM10. The EU implemented heightened PM10 standards under last June's Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air for …

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by Caitlin Price

Moscow's Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeals on Thursday declared void most of the Russian government's tax claims against the British Council, the British government's cultural relations arm, relating to the organization’s in-country operations in 2004-2006. The British Council filed suit last May seeking to void tax claims of over 200 million rubles made by the …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The chief judge for US military commissions at the Guantanamo Bay detention center rejected Thursday the request of government prosecutors to delay the proceedings against alleged USS Cole plotter Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Prosecutors had sought the delay in response to an executive order [text, …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Japan's Ministry of Justice announced Thursday that four death row inmates were executed, despite international pressure to end the practice. The executions are the country's first of 2009. Last year, the Ministry of Justice carried out the execution of 15 prisoners, including three inmates in June, as well as …

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by Andrew Morgan

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on Thursday rejected an appeal by relatives of victims of the 1940 Katyn Massacre to reopen investigations into the killings. The court reasoned that the Soviet-era criminal code to be applied to the killings places a ten year statute …

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by Christian Ehret

A judge for the National Court of Spain ordered an investigation Thursday of former Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and six soldiers under his command for alleged crimes against humanity committed in a 2002 attack in the Gaza Strip. Judge Fernando Andreu issued the order in response to a complaint brought by the …

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by Andrew Morgan

US President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 [S.181 materials] into law Thursday, extending the deadline for employees to sue their employers for unequal pay discrimination. The law's "clarification" of equal pay protections effectively overturns the 2007 decision of the US Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear …

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by Safiya Boucaud

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed deep concern Thursday over the deteriorating conditions for a quarter of a million Sri Lankans trapped in the conflict-ravaged north, calling for investigations and prosecutions of killings and other human rights abuses. Pillay said she is concerned over reports of human rights abuses, …

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by Devin Montgomery

Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman major general Abdel Karim Khalaf said Thursday that the country would not renew a contract allowing Blackwater Worldwide private security forces to operate within the country. Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which became effective this month and was signed by the US and Iraq in December, …

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by Steve Czajkowski

Former Bosnian Serb leader and war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic requested Thursday that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) shorten his indictment in order to expedite his trial. The request came as a response to a motion by ICTY prosecutors last …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The trial of former Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga resumed Thursday after the first witness to testify withdrew his testimony Wednesday, causing the inaugural war crimes trial of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to adjourn temporarily to assess witness safety. The witness, who remains unidentified, initially testified that he was recruited by …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Wednesday that the US may continue to hold Yemeni detainee Ghaleb Nassar Al Bihani at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility. Judge Richard Leon held that the government had met its burden of proving, by a preponderance of …

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