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Israel: Law Authorizing Force-Feeding of Prisoners Held Constitutional

(Oct. 5, 2016) On September 11, 2016, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and various human rights organizations to declare void legislation passed by the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in July 2015, authorizing force-feeding of prisoners on a hunger strike. (HC 5304/15 IMA v. Israel Knesset (Sept. 11, 2016), STATE […]

Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Recognizes Dual Paternity

(Sept. 23, 2016) On September 21, 2016, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) held that a child’s relationship with one man through socio-affective paternity does not exempt the child’s biological father from paternal responsibility.  A majority of ministers of the STF dismissed an appeal by a biological father from a decision that imposed paternal obligations despite the child’s ties […]

Israel: Supreme Court Orders Release of Ship Captured Attempting to Break Gaza Blockade

(Aug. 10, 2016) On August 8, 2016, the Supreme Court of Israel rejected an appeal by the state against the Haifa District Court’s decision not to allow confiscation of the ship Estelle. Instead, the Court ordered the release of the ship to its owners.  (CA7307/14 State of Israel v. the Ship Estelle (Aug. 8, 2016), […]

Maldives: Supreme Court Decision Allows Executions to Proceed

(July 28, 2016) On July 24, 2016, the Supreme Court of the Maldives reversed a stay order issued the day before by the High Court. The High Court order had stopped executions based on that court’s views of the constitutionality of the regulations that implement the punishment. The Supreme Court ruling means that two pending […]

Pakistan: Bills Introduced on Increased Representation of Women in the Supreme Court

(May 26, 2016) On May 16, 2016, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and former law minister, Babar Awan, introduced a private member’s bill in the Senate, the upper house of Pakistan’s federal legislature, that would amend the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1997, to provide greater “representation of women” in Pakistan’s […]

Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Changes Its Understanding of Enforcement of Sentences

(Mar. 11, 2016) On February 17, 2016, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal) ruled that requiring a defendant to start serving a sentence after an intermediate appellate court’s confirmation of a criminal conviction does not offend the constitutional principle of the defendant’s presumption of innocence. Minister Teori Zavascki, who wrote the opinion, held that an intermediate appellate […]

Sweden: Supreme Court Turns to Electronic Communication

(Sept. 8, 2015) On August 25, 2015, the Swedish Supreme Court announced that as of August 31, 2015, it has turned to e-mail as its main means of communication. (Press Release, Ökad användning av e-post vid Högsta domstolen, Högsta Domstolen [Supreme Court] website (Aug. 25, 2015), NOTISUM.) The new policy means that all communication between […]

Afghanistan: President Ghani Nominates First Female Supreme Court Justice

(June 26, 2015) Afghanistan’s President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani nominated the country’s first female justice to the Afghan Supreme Court in mid-June 2015. Anisa Rasouli, currently the head of the Juvenile Appeals Court, will become the first female Supreme Court justice in Afghanistan if she receives a vote of confidence from the lower house of 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 […]

Brazil: Constitutional Amendment Passed Increasing Justices

(May 12, 2015) On May 6, 2015, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved a constitutional amendment that increases the age of compulsory retirement of the members of the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF), the Audit Tribunal of the Union (Tribunal de Contas da União, TCU), and all other superior tribunals. After the amendment, […]