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European Union; Sri Lanka: Plan to Contest Decision to End Ban on Tamil Tigers

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(Oct 23, 2014) On October 16, 2014, the European Court of Justice annulled the European Council's 2006 listing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers) as a terrorist organization. The step was taken on procedural grounds and left intact the freeze on LTTE assets. According to the Court, the original decision to list the group relied on "factual imputations derived from the press and the internet" rather than on examination of the actual actions of the LTTE. (European Court Annuls Sanctions on LTTE on Technical Grounds but Maintains Asset Freeze, COLOMBO PAGE (Oct. 16, 2014); European Court of Justice, Judgment ECLI:EU:T:2014:885, INFOCURIA (last visited Oct. 20, 2014).)

Sri Lanka's EU Ambassador Rodney Perera travelled to Strasbourg on October 21 to attend the EU parliament session; he also planned to contact two committees, foreign affairs and security and defense, and to lobby the European Commission, to contest the decision and maintain the listing. (Sri Lanka to Contest the European Court Decision Lifting Sanctions of LTTE, COLOMBO PAGE (Oct. 19, 2014).)

Political parties sympathetic to the LTTE in Tamil Nadu, India have welcomed the Court's judgment and have demanded that the Indian government's ban on the LTTE be lifted. India has said, however, that the European Court's decision will not change its stance, and the Indian ban will remain in place. In addition to Sri Lanka, India, and the EU, bans of the LTTE have been declared by Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (Id.)

Not all Tamil leaders are pleased with the decision. V. Anandasanaree, the president of the Tamil United Liberation Front, has argued that the judgment will help the separatist Tamil Tigers revive in Sri Lanka. He noted, "[p]ro-LTTE groups both within the island and overseas have received a shot in the arm, and will now openly propagate the LTTE's cause of separatism and terrorism." (Camelia Nathaniel, TULF Warns EU Court Ruling Will Help LTTE, THE SUNDAY LEADER (Oct. 20, 2014).)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: International organizations More on this topic
 Judiciary More on this topic
 Terrorism More on this topic
Jurisdiction: European Union More about this jurisdiction
 Sri Lanka More about this jurisdiction

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Sweden: Enforcement Authority to Collect Bitcoins

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(Oct 23, 2014) On October 6, 2014, the Swedish Enforcement Authority staff announced, to Swedish media outlets, that it will start to investigate and seize Bitcoin holdings when collecting funds from indebted individuals. (Kronofogden ska leta Bitcoins hos skuldsatta [Swedish Enforcement Authority to Look for Bitcoins from Indebted Individuals], SVERIGES RADIO (Oct. 6, 2014).)

The Swedish Enforcement Authority is a government agency that enforces judgments for both private and public claims. (Information About the Activities of the Swedish Enforcement Authority, Kronofogden [Swedish Enforcement Agency] website at 3 (last visited Oct. 23, 2014).)

In its Omvärldsanalys (World Analysis) report from May of this year, the Authority acknowledged that the effects of individuals' increased use of Bitcoin on the agency was not yet known. (Omvärldsanalys – April 2014 [World Analysis – April 2014], Kronofogden [Swedish Enforcement Agency] website at 26.)

Now Johannes Paulsson, a developer at the Swedish Enforcement Authority, has stated that the authority will actively look for Bitcoins when seeking assets in its debt collection efforts. (Kronofogden jagar bitcoins [Swedish Enforcement Authority Hunts for Bitcoins], DAGENS INDUSTRI (Oct. 6, 2014).)

The evaluation process and practical implications of this step are so far unknown. No seizure of Bitcoins has yet taken place, although the agency acknowledges that there have probably been cases of persons facing asset forfeiture having possession of Bitcoins that were overlooked in the collection process. (SVERIGES RADIO, supra.)

Prepared by Elin Hofverberg, Foreign Law Research Consultant, under the supervision of Luis Acosta, Acting Chief, Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Division II.

Author: Luis Acosta More by this author
Topic: Currency More on this topic
 Finance and financial sector More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Sweden More about this jurisdiction

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Mexico: Chamber of Deputies Legislates to Regulate Political Asylum

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(Oct 23, 2014) The Mexican Chamber of Deputies has passed legal reforms to regulate the country's handling of political asylum. The draft legislation, which was approved with 362 votes in favor, none against, and one abstention, changes the name of the Law on Refugees and Complementary Protection to the Law on Refugees, Complementary Protection, and Political Asylum. (Diputados de México Aprueban Reformas para Regular el Asilo Político, EL MUNDO (Sept. 25, 2014); Ley sobre Refugiados y Protección Complementaria, DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION (DOF) (Jan. 27, 2011). The new legislation has not yet been promulgated.)

The draft legislation reforms and adds to provisions that regulate the institution of political asylum, and also amends a provision in Mexico's Immigration Law regarding political asylum. (Diputados de México Aprueban Reformas para Regular el Asilo Político, supra; Ley de Migración, DOF (May 25, 2011).)

According to a Chamber of Deputies statement, the draft legislation is intended to "fill existing gaps in the secondary legislation on matters of political asylum." The statement explains that political asylum is the protection that the Mexican government grants to a foreigner who is persecuted due to offenses of a political character or due to ordinary offenses that are connected to political causes and whose life, liberty, or security is at risk. (Diputados de México Aprueban Reformas para Regular el Asilo Político, supra.)

The draft legislation states that the Secretariat of Foreign Relations will send notice of its decisions on political asylum applications to the Secretariat of Interior, and the latter will issue migratory documents in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Law. (Id.)

The draft further provides that two Secretariats will jointly promote and coordinate public actions, strategies, and protection-oriented programs and assistance for refugees. (Victor Chávez, Diputados Aprueban Reformas para Tramitar el Asilo Político, EL FINANCIERO (Sept. 25, 2014).)

The revised statute will have a seventh title entitled "Political Asylum," with six chapters covering general principles governing asylum and the procedures for granting political asylum, for withdrawal and renunciation of political asylum, and for permitting stay in the country with political asylum and the care offered by institutions. (Id.)

The original draft legislation was sent by the Executive Branch to the Senate in October 2012. The draft legislation will be sent to the Executive for promulgation. (Id.)

Author: Norma Gutierrez More by this author
Topic: Asylum More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Mexico More about this jurisdiction

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Israel: Release of Prisoners Based on State or Security Reasons

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(Oct 23, 2014) On July 29, 2014, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed the Government Law (Amendment No. 9), 5774-2014 (Amendment Law, Knesset website [scroll down to appropriate link on the right]), amending the Government Law, 5761-2001, SEFER HAHUKIM 5761 No. 1780, p. 168, as amended (the Law) [both in Hebrew]).)

The Amendment Law authorizes the government to determine to release a prisoner if it believes that the release is necessary for reasons of management of the State's foreign affairs and its security, as long as the release is conducted within the framework of one of the following:

(1) in exchange for the release of hostages or kidnapped persons who are Israeli citizens or residents, including the return of their bodies, or receipt of information regarding hostages, kidnapped, or missing persons who are either Israeli citizens or residents;
(2) as a state gesture; or
(3) as a state agreement, including an interim agreement or a memorandum of understanding. (Amendment Law, adding § 8 B. (a)(1-3) to the Law, translated here and throughout when relevant by the author, R.L.)
While the Amendment Law allows the government to make such decisions, it prohibits the government, its members, or those "subject to its authority or instructions" (referring to coalition members) from directly initiating or acting in any way to obtain the release of a prisoner held in Israel for any purpose, including those purposes enumerated above, and by any means including by clemency or reduction of sentence. (Id., adding § 8 B. (b).)

The prohibition of initiation or acting to bring about such a release, however, does not apply to activities that are needed for completion of Presidential processing of clemency or reduction of a sentence under the Basic Law: President of the State. It similarly does not apply to implementation of the Basic Law's requirement for counter-signature of the "Prime Minister or of such other Minister as the Government may decide" that is required to be added to that of the President "on an official document, other than a document connected with the formation of a Government." (Basic Law: President of the State (1964), §§ 11(b) & 12, Knesset website; Amendment Law, id.)

The Amendment Law establishes a Committee for examination of the merits of voiding early release of prisoners (the Committee). The Committee is composed of a chairperson who will be appointed by the Prime Minister and is a retired judge, a representative of the Minister of Justice, and an employee of either the Defense Ministry or the Ministry of Public Security appointed by the appropriate Minister. (Amendment Law, adding § 8 B. (c) to the Law.)
.
The Amendment Law determines that a prisoner's release may be voided as long as the period of his/her original incarceration has not lapsed under any of the following:
(1) a government decision that there is no longer any state or security interest in continuing the prisoner's release;
(2) a Committee determination that the prisoner committed an offense punishable by at least three months imprisonment during the period she or he would have served if not released earlier; or
(3) a Committee determination that the prisoner violated one of the conditions for release that were established by the government. (Id., adding § 8 B. (d) to the Law.))
The Amendment Law provides that a decision by the Committee to detain a prisoner until it reaches a decision or a decision to void the prisoner's release based on the above grounds constitutes a warrant for the prisoner's arrest. (Id., adding § 8 B. (e) & (g(2)) to the Law.)

According to the Amendment Law upon finding that the prisoner has either committed an offense that triggers voidance of the early release or has violated the conditions for his/her release, the Committee may order resumption of the sentence under the original or under additional conditions. Among other steps, the Committee may also extend the sentence to which the prisoner was subjected to prior to the release. (Id., adding § 8 B. (h) to the Law.)

A released prisoner is entitled to be present at any hearing by the Committee, but may not be present or receive information disclosing anything that was determined by the Committee that would possibly harm state or public security, the "non- disclosure [of which] is found to be preferable to that of its disclosure for the purpose of doing justice." The Amendment Law establishes appeal procedures against the Committee's decision on non-disclosure. (Id., adding §§ 8 B. (k-p) to the Law.)

The Committee decision regarding re-incarceration may be appealed by either the prisoner or the Attorney General to the district court; that court will hear the appeal before a panel of three judges. The district court decision in this matter may be appealed to the Supreme Court upon prior authorization in the decision of the district court or upon approval by a justice of the Supreme Court. (Id., adding § 8 B. (r) to the Law.)

Author: Ruth Levush More by this author
Topic: Criminal procedure More on this topic
 Terrorism More on this topic
 War crimes More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Israel More about this jurisdiction

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India: No Import of Cosmetics Tested on Animals

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(Oct 17, 2014) Under new rules that will enter into effect in India in November 2014, "[n]o cosmetic that has been tested on animals … shall be imported into the country." (Madhur Singh, India Bans Import of Cosmetics Tested on Animals, BNA DAILY REPORT FOR EXECUTIVES, Bloomberg BNA online subscription database.) The rules, called the Drugs and Cosmetics (Fifth Amendment) Rules 2014, amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, through the insertion of the above-stated new provision as rule 135-B. (Drugs and Cosmetics (Fifth Amendment) Rules, 2014, THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY, REGD. NO. D. L.-33004/99, PART II—SEC. 3(i), (Oct. 13, 2014) [scroll down to find English-language version].) The new rule comes into effect 30 days after its publication in the official gazette. (Singh, supra.)

Earlier this year, India introduced prohibitions against in-country use of animals to test cosmetics and also banned such testing for household products, removing animal tests from the approval requirements for bringing "soaps and other surface active agents" to market in India. (Id.) Subsequently, animal testing in pharmacy education courses was banned, "through a gazette notification that said animal experimentations would be replaced by computer-assisted modules." (Id.) The ban on animal testing came into force on May 23, 2014. (Historic Milestone Celebrated as India Finalises Cosmetics Animal Testing Ban, Humane Society International website (May 23, 2014).) Applauding the new cosmetics rules, Human Society International noted that India has become "the first animal cruelty-free zone in South Asia." (HSI's Be Cruelty-Free India Makes History as India Bans Import of Animal-TestedCosmetics, Human Society International website (Oct. 14, 2014).)

According to Dr. Chaitanya Koduri, Science Policy Adviser at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the bans on animal testing for cosmetics and household products that are already in place have adversely affected "many companies, especially those that have manufacturing plants in India from where they export to countries such as China that explicitly require animal testing for imports." (Singh, supra.) The new ban on imports, he indicated, would in particular negatively affect European companies "that have been turning to India to sell products that they could no longer sell at home after the EU's ban on animal testing for cosmetics." (Id.)

The European Union's final deadline to fully ban animal-tested cosmetics in the EU market went into effect on March 11, 2013; Directive 2003/15/EC had introduced provisions on animal testing into the Cosmetic Directive 76/768/EEC, resulting in a ban on such testing as of 2004 for cosmetic products and as of 2009 for cosmetic ingredients and a ban on marketing cosmetics with animal-tested ingredients from March 2009 (this ban had been extended to the 2013 deadline "for the most complex human health effects"). (Press Release, European Commission, Full EU Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics Enters into Force (Mar. 11, 2013).)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Animals More on this topic
 Marketing and advertising More on this topic
 Research ethics More on this topic
Jurisdiction: India More about this jurisdiction

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