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Indonesia: Rule of Law Reform Proposed

(Dec. 6, 2016) On October 11, 2016, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo announced an overhaul of the legal system, with the aim of ending corruption and improving rule of law.  He called for far-reaching legal reform to improve service to the public and reduce distrust.  He also said that a strong legal system is “crucial for […]

Japan: Emperor Akihito Announces Intention to Abdicate

(July 14, 2016) It was reported on July 13, 2016, that Emperor Akihito of Japan intends to abdicate the throne in favor of his first son, Crown Prince Naruhito.  (Emperor Expressed His Intention to ‘Abdicate,’ NHK News Web (July 13, 2016) (in Japanese).)  As there is no provision on abdication in the Imperial House Act, […]

Saudi Arabia: Religious Decree Forbids Chess

(Jan. 28, 2016) On January 21, 2016, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti, of the Sunni sect of Islam, who represents the formal religious institution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, issued a religious decree to ban the game of chess. He stated that he had issued the fatwa forbidding chess because it is like […]

Saudi Arabia: Women Not Allowed to Perform Notary Duties

(Nov. 14, 2014) Notaries public in Saudi Arabia are public employees under the Ministry of Justice, in accordance with article 73 and subsequent articles of the Judiciary Law issued by Royal Decree No. M/78 of 2007 (1428 Hijri). (Text of the Law [in Arabic] (Sept. 2, 2007), Bureau of Experts at the Council of Ministers […]

Brunei: Islamic Law Adopted

(May 6, 2014) On April 30, 2014, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, announced that Sharia (Islamic) penal law would become effective in the country on May 1, under the Shari’ah Penal Code Order, 2013. In addition to this Order, amendments have been made to three other laws, the Islamic Religious Council Act, the Shari’ah […]

Libya: Establishment of Commission to Revise Legislation That Might Contradict Islamic Law

(Apr. 4, 2014) In January 2014, the Minister of Justice of Libya issued Decree No. 1958-2013 to establish a commission comprised of legal and religious scholars to ensure the adherence of Libyan legislation to Islamic law. (Ministerial Resolution No. 1958-2013 [in Arabic] (Jan. 1, 2014), Ministry of Justice website.) On March 27, 2014, the commission […]

Mali: Sharia Law Imposed in North

(Aug. 14, 2012) Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have occupied northern Mali, controlling about 60% of the country, since late March 2012. These two armed groups have as a goal the imposition of Sharia (Islamic law) throughout the country. (Forcing Sharia Law in Mali, […]

Papua New Guinea: Controversial Law Stayed After UN Official Expressed Concerns

(May 1, 2012) On April 27, 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, expressed concern about trends in the governance of Papua New Guinea (PNG), stating that “Papua New Guinea is on a slippery path to upending the constitutional order and undermining the rule of law.” (Papua New Guinea on 'Slippery […]

Taiwan: Cabinet Submits 53 Priority Draft Proposals to the Legislature

(Feb. 27, 2012) The Executive Yuan (Cabinet) of the Republic of China on Taiwan had 53 priority draft items of legislation to submit to the country's legislature for review, in advance of the new legislative session that opened on February 24, 2012. (Grace Kuo, ROC Cabinet Gears Up for New Legislative Session, TAIWAN TODAY (Feb. […]

Egypt: Judicial Authority Warns Parliament

(Feb. 17, 2012) On February 8, 2012, it was reported that the Chief of the Supreme Judicial Council and President of the Court of Cassation in Egypt, Judge Husam el-Din al-Ghariani, had sent a letter to the Speaker of the People's Assembly (the Parliament) insisting on the necessity of respecting the principle of separation of […]