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Iceland: Update: Supreme Court Increases Jail Sentence for Kaupthing Bank Director and Shareholder

(July 2, 2015) On February 12, 2015, the Icelandic Supreme Court decided the Al-Thani Case, in which the Chief Executive of Kaupthing Bank, the CEO of its Luxembourg branch, the Chairman of the Board, and the bank’s largest shareholder were charged with market manipulation. (Iceland Jails Kaupthing Bankers for Market Manipulation, NEW YORK TIMES (Feb. […]

Saudi Arabia: Visit to Hospital Patients and Digging Graves in Lieu of Prison Term

(June 12, 2015) The Criminal Court in Jeddah Province, Saudi Arabia, substituted a novel punishment for a prison sentence against two young women and two young men by ordering the women to visit ten intensive care patients in one of the government hospitals and the men to dig five graves. The crime for which the […]

Bangladesh: Supreme Court Rules Mandatory Death Sentences Unconstitutional

(May 20, 2015) On May 5, 2015, the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court declared sections 6(2), 6(3), and 6(4) of the Women and Children Repression (Special Provisions) Act, 1995 and section 34(2) of the Prevention of Oppression Against Women and Children Act, 2000 unconstitutional “because they prescribe a mandatory death penalty for the […]

Vietnam: Penal Code Revisions Proposed

(May 19, 2015) On April 7, 2015, Vietnam’s Minister of Justice, Ha Hung Cuong, spoke to the National Assembly Standing Committee. He discussed a plan to revise the Penal Code of 1999. The draft Code now being considered revises the majority of existing articles, adds several dozen new ones, and deletes a small number. (Revised […]

Canada: Supreme Court Strikes Down Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Gun Crimes

(Apr. 22, 2015) On April 14, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada, in a majority decision, struck down as unconstitutional those sections of the Criminal Code (RSC 1985, c C-46) that establish minimum mandatory sentences of three years for a first offense and five years for a second or subsequent offense for certain gun crimes. […]

Netherlands; Norway: Dutch Prisoners Sue Unsuccessfully to Prevent Transfer of Norwegian Convicts to Luxury Cells

(Mar. 30, 2015) A Dutch court ruled on March 6, 2015, that long-term prisoners, serving ten years to life imprisonment, who currently live in “luxury cells” in Norgerhaven Prison must give up them up to make way for Norwegian convicts who are to be transferred to the facility based on an agreement reached between The […]

Japan: Supreme Court Strikes Down Sentence by Lay Judges

(Sept. 4, 2014) On July 24, 2014, the Supreme Court of Japan rendered a controversial decision on sentencing in a case in which a lay-judge system was used. (Heisei25(a)689 (S. Ct., 1st petit bench, July 24, 2014) [in Japanese], Courts of Japan website.) The lay-judge (saiban-in) system was introduced in Japan in 2009. Six civilians […]

France: Major Reform of Penal Code

(Sept. 2, 2014) An important reform of the French Penal Code was signed into law on August 15, 2014. (Loi No. 2014-896 du 15 août 2014 relative à l’individualisation des peines et renforçant l’efficacité des sanctions pénales [Law No. 2014-896 of August 15, 2014, on the Individualization of Sentencing and Reinforcing the Efficacy of Penal […]

Indonesia: More Lenient Treatment for Drug Users

(Aug. 12, 2014) On August 16, 2014, a new ministerial regulation will come into force in Indonesia that is designed to promote rehabilitation rather than incarceration of drug users, in some cases permitting substitution of stays in rehabilitation centers for jail time. The regulation was issued jointly by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN); the National […]

Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; International Criminal Court: Convicted War Criminal Sentenced

(May 30, 2014) On May 23, 2014, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Germain Katanga, a militia leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to 12 years of imprisonment. Katanga had been convicted in March 2014 of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from his role as the leader of the Patriotic […]