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Brazil: New Law Makes Law Offices Inviolable to Searches and Seizures

(Sept. 3, 2008) On August 7, 2008, the acting Brazilian President, José Alencar, signed into law a bill that makes law offices inviolable to searches and seizures. Alencar vetoed some provisions of the law, following the contitutioanl powers granted to the President to veto bills, either in whole or in part (art. 84, section V, […]

England and Wales: Compensation for Rape Victims Reduced Due to Drinking as Contributing Factor

(Sept. 2, 2008) The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, a body responsible for administering the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in England and Wales, recently reduced the amount of compensation awarded to 14 victims of rape. The Authority claimed that the women's “excessive consumption of alcohol” was a contributing factor in the rapes and that the compensation […]

Sierra Leone: New Drug Control Law Passed

(Aug. 28, 2008) It was reported on August 2, 2008, that the National Drugs Act of 2008, drafted with the help of the U.N. Office of Drug Control, passed Sierra Leone's legislature with the overwhelming support of the MPs. The law, the draft of which was tabled in Parliament under a “certificate of urgency” signed […]

South Africa: Law to Expunge Criminal Records for Breaking Apartheid Laws

(July 2, 2008) A new bill, the criminal procedure amendment bill, was recently proposed in the Parliament of South Africa. It seeks to expunge criminal records for violations of laws based on race or that created offenses with a view to promoting the policy of apartheid before the 1993 South African Constitution took effect. These […]

United Kingdom: Commons Passes Pre-Charge Detention Bill

(July 2, 2008) On June 11, 2008, a bill to extend the time period that terrorist suspects can be held without charge to gather evidence for criminal cases was passed by a narrow majority in the House of Commons. The counter-terrorism bill extends the period of pre-charge detention from 28 days to 42. The extension […]

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development: Report on Identity Theft

(July 2, 2008) In a report made public on June 13, 2008, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) urged its 30 Member States to make identity theft a stand-alone crime and to adopt laws on notification of national data breaches as a means of better combating identity theft. While some of the Member […]

China: New Regulations on Defense Lawyers in Capital Cases

(June 2, 2008) On May 21, 2008, China's Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Justice issued the Circular Distributing Certain Provisions on Fully Guaranteeing Lawyers' Carrying Out Defense Obligations According to Law and Assuring the Quality of Handling of Death Penalty Cases. Some highlights of the Provisions are: • Where a legal aid institution […]

Iraq: Trial of Tariq Aziz

(June 2, 2008) On May 20, 2008, an Iraqi special tribunal began the trial of seven former officials of the Saddam Hussein regime. Among the defendants is the well known former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz. The case involves the executions of 42 merchants hours after their arrest and quick trial in […]

Libya: New Penal Code Opposed

(June 2, 2008) Libyan legal activists and politicians recently warned against the enactment of a proposed new penal code, claiming it infringes on public liberties, and asked for constitutional guarantees protecting rights and liberties. Participants in a discussion organized by the Bar Association of Tripoli confirmed their commitment to abolishing the death penalty, except in […]

United States: Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Child Pornography Law

(June 2, 2008) On May 19, the Supreme Court ruled that a federal statute that criminalizes the pandering of child pornography does not violate the United States Constitution. Section 2252A(a)(3)(B) of the U.S. Criminal Code prohibits offers to provide or requests to obtain obscene material depicting actual or virtual children engaged in specified sexually explicit […]