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Malaysia opposition leader Anwar's defense rests in sodomy trial
[JURIST] Defense counsel for Malaysian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim [official profile; JURIST news archive] rested its case on Monday in Anwar's sodomy trial, for which a verdict is expected by the end of the year. The prosecutor plans to call four witnesses to refute testimony of one of the defense experts, an orthopedic surgeon, who testified [AP report] that Anwar's back condition would prevent him from engaging in the sexual act. Under Malaysian law, sodomy...

European Commission chief to propose criminal penalties for finacial sector violations
[JURIST] The head of the European Commission (EC) [official website] Sunday announced plans [Le Parisien report, in French] to propose criminal sanctions for wrong-doers in the financial sector. In an interview-format article published over the weekend, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso [official website] stated that during the coming week he will propose to introduce into European law for the first time the recognition of individual criminal liability [AFP report] for financial players who break European regulations. An English translation of...

Egypt military council issues ban on discrimination

[JURIST] The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder] on Saturday issued a decree banning discrimination on the basis of race, gender or religion. The SCAF article, Law Decree No. 125 / 2011, amended Criminal Law provisions first passed in 1937. The new article imposes heavy penalties [Egyptian Gazette article], amounting to fines of up to EGP 100,000 (USD $16,778) and a prison sentence of up to three months, on civil servants who discriminate against citizens either...

ICC prosecutor singles out individuals for Ivory Coast war crimes probe
[JURIST] International Criminal Court [ICC] [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Saturday that the court will launch investigations specifically aimed at three to six individuals for their alleged involvement in post-election violence [JURIST news archive] following last November's elections in the Ivory Coast [BBC backgrounder]. Ocampo arrived in the country [JURIST report] on Saturday after receiving permission from both ICC judges and Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio [JURIST reports]. While the names of the individuals under investigation...

ICC prosecutor visits Ivory Coast to probe war crime allegations
[JURIST] International Criminal Court [ICC] [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] arrived in the Ivory Coast [BBC backgrounder] Saturday to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during post-election violence [JURIST news archive] following last November's elections. Thousands were allegedly killed and hundreds detained and raped in the months-long struggle between ousted leader Laurent Gbagbo and rival President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profiles] after Gbagbo refused to give up power. The ICC announced earlier this month that it would initiate...

Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko facing new charges
[JURIST] The Security Service of Ukraine [official website] on Thursday brought new corruption charges [press release] against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive], just days after she was sentenced [JURIST report] to seven years in prison on charges of abuse of power and corruption. Prosecutors allege that Tymoshenko embezzled USD $400 million of debt from her company United Energy Systems of Ukraine onto the state. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] has called the prosecution of Tymoshenko...

Taiwan high court sentences ex-president Chen to additional prison time
[JURIST] The Taiwan High Court [official website, in Chinese] on Thursday sentenced [press release, in Chinese] former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile] to 18 years in prison after finding him guilty of financial fraud, overturning a lower court ruling. Members of Chen's family, including his wife, were also found guilty on corruption charges [ANN report] and given prison sentences ranging from six months to 11 years. A lower court originally acquitted Chen [JURIST report] and 21 other defendants of...

UN rights chief calls for international protection of Syria civilians
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Friday urged [statement] the international community to take steps to protect civilian lives in Syria, where more than 3,000 civilians have been killed since protests against the government began in March. Pillay stated that the Syrian government has failed to protect its population and has ignored calls from the international community to cooperate with international investigations into possible human rights violations. According to a report adopted Tuesday by...

UN expert supports Mexico right to food constitutional reform
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food [official website], Olivier De Schutter [official profile], announced on Thursday that he supports a Mexican constitutional reform which recognizes the right to food [press release]. The reform targets articles 4 and 27 of the Mexican constitution [text, PDF]. Article 4 guarantees that "[n]o one may be deprived of the fruits of his labor except by judicial decision." Article 27 provides the government the "right to regulate the utilization of natural resources"...

Myanmar urged to release remaining political prisoners

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Thursday welcomed [statement] the release of approximately 200 political prisoners by Myanmar's president, while urging the government to release all political prisoners [UN News Centre report] in accordance with the rule of law. Ban Ki-moon also acknowledged the dialogue between the government and pro-democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], as well as talks between the authorities and ethnic groups in an effort to bring stability and address...