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Ethiopia: Human Rights

(Feb. 2, 2008) Mohammed Farah Hassan, an American citizen, has been held in Jijiga, the capital of Somali State in Ethiopia, for over a year. Although the security chief of the region has claimed that Hassan has been sentenced by an Ethiopian court, he did not specify the charges or the sentence and has refused […]

United Arab Emirates: Federal Judgeship for Women

(Feb. 2, 2008) On January 6, 2008, the Minister of Justice of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mohammed Bin Nakhira al-Daheri, said that the Ministry of Justice is amending the law to allow women to serve in the federal judiciary. He added that women are being trained at the Judicial Institute and will be prepared […]

United States: Freedom of Information Act Strengthened

(Jan. 2, 2008) New legislation was enacted December 31 designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The new law broadens the definition of "news media" entities that are entitled to waiver of fees for FOIA requests to include non-traditional news sources. It liberalizes the standard for recovery of attorney fees […]

Bangladesh: Human Rights Commission Created

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 9, the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission Ordinance of 2007 became law. It establishes the National Human Rights Commission. The Commission is empowered to investigate human rights violations and settle issues, or refer them to judiciary for further action. The selection committee is headed by an Appellate Division Justice, nominated […]

Zimbabwe: Proposal to Amend Security and Media Laws

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 18, 2007, Zimbabwe's government introduced proposed amendments to the laws on security and on the media. The changes were introduced in Parliament by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, as part of a political deal involving the ruling ZANU-PF Party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The opposition has criticized […]

India: Women May be Employed as Bartenders

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 6, the Supreme Court of India annulled as unconstitutional a colonial-era statute that prohibited women, as well as men under the age of 25, from working as bartenders. The ruling gives women the equal opportunity to work as bartenders in India, and lowers the permissible age for bartenders from 25 […]

Ethiopia: Activists Sentenced for Inciting Violence

(Jan. 2, 2008) Two Ethiopian anti-poverty activists were recently convicted and sentenced to two–and-a-half years in prison for inciting violence in connection with the civil unrest that claimed about 190 lives in the aftermath of the Ethiopia's 2005 elections. Because the defendants have been in prison for more than two years during their trial, their […]

Greece: Use of Cameras During Demonstrations Allowed

(Dec. 2, 2007) During the 2004 Olympic Games, the Greek government spent close to €250 million (about US$359 million) to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators and the smooth operation of the games. Part of those funds was allocated to purchase and install 300 closed-circuit cameras. However, the Hellenic Data Protection Authority, which is […]

ASEAN: Charter Signed

(Dec. 2, 2007) During their 13th summit, held from November 18-22, 2007, Members of ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations, consisting of Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) signed a charter setting out ASEAN's principles and rules as well as a declaration indicating their intention to implement […]

Cambodia: Genocide Tribunal Has First Hearing

(Dec. 2, 2007) International media have reported the first public hearing of the Genocide Tribunal of Cambodia. It was a request for bail by Kang Kek Ieu, the former head of the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh. The tribunal is supported by the United Nations and has a mandate to try surviving Khmer Rouge […]