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United States: Appellate Court Orders Dismissal of Palestinian Suicide Bomb Case on Procedural Grounds

(May 27, 2020) On April 14, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determined that civil claims against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (the Palestinian defendants) by victims of a suicide bombing could not withstand a procedural challenge to personal jurisdiction. (Shatsky v. Palestine Liberation Org., No. 17-7168, […]

Hungary: National Assembly Adopts Act Giving Government Special Powers during Coronavirus Pandemic

(May 26, 2020) On March 29, 2020, Hungary’s National Assembly adopted a special legal regime aimed at “mitigating the consequences of a natural disaster or industrial accident endangering life and property” and preserving the governability of the country in case the National Assembly is not able to meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new […]

Côte d’Ivoire: Former Prime Minister Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Corruption

(May 15, 2020) On April 28, 2020, the Tribunal Correctionnel (Criminal Trial Court) of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, convicted former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro in absentia of embezzlement and money laundering. The trial lasted only a few hours and was boycotted by Soro’s lawyers in protest of what they claimed were politically motivated, trumped-up charges. Soro, […]

Norway: Supreme Court Overrules Detention Order Issued Following Remote Proceedings

(May 14, 2020) On May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court of Norway overturned a decision to detain a man suspected of attempted murder because the pretrial detention hearing had been conducted remotely. (Supreme Court Decision HR-2020-972-U (sak nr. 20-065997STR-HRET).) To limit the risk of spreading COVID-19, the court of first instance conducted an initial pretrial […]

Germany: Bavarian Higher Administrative Court Upholds Requirement to Wear Face Masks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

(May 14, 2020) On May 7, 2020, the Bavarian Higher Administrative Court (Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof, BayVGH) denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus adopted by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care that, among other things, makes wearing face masks in retail stores, shopping centers, department stores, […]

Singapore: Singaporean Courts Hear Only Essential and Urgent Matters During COVID-19 Outbreak, Largely Through Zoom

(May 1, 2020) On April 24, 2020, Singapore’s chief justice announced an extension to June 1, 2020, of the period during which the courts of Singapore would hear only essential and urgent matters in order to slow local transmission of COVID-19. On the same day, the Supreme Court, state courts, and family justice courts each […]

Germany: First Criminal Trial Worldwide on State Torture in Syria Begins

(Apr. 30, 2020) On April 23, 2020, the first criminal trial worldwide on state torture in Syria started at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany (docket no. 1 StE 9/19). The two defendants allegedly worked for the Syrian intelligence services and are charged with crimes against humanity in numerous cases. The trial is scheduled to […]

Switzerland: Prohibition on Sexual Orientation Discrimination Will Apply Starting July 1

(Apr. 30, 2020) In its session of April 3, 2020, the Swiss Federal Council, the country’s government, decided that a prohibition on discrimination due to sexual orientation will enter into force on July 1, 2020. The necessary amendments to the Criminal Code and the Military Criminal Code had been adopted by the Swiss Parliament on December 14, […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Strikes Down Provision Criminalizing Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Apr. 29, 2020) On February 26, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the provision in the German Criminal Code criminalizing commercial assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The Court stated that the general right of personality encompasses a right to a self-determined death, which includes the freedom to take one’s own life as […]

Switzerland: Videoconferencing in Civil Trials Authorized due to COVID-19

(Apr. 27, 2020) On April 20, 2020, a regulation entered into force that temporarily amends Switzerland’s rules of civil procedure to enable the resumption of court proceedings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Regulation Justice and Procedural Law (COVID-19 Justice Regulation) establishes general rules for the conduct of proceedings and temporarily allows the use of […]