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Belgium seeks world court order on ex-Chad leader
Legal World News | 2012/03/11 16:35
Lawyers for Belgium urged the United Nations' highest court Monday to order Senegal to prosecute former Chad dictator Hissene Habre or extradite him for trial for allegedly masterminding atrocities during his brutal eight-year rule.

Habre has lived in a luxury villa in Senegal's capital, Dakar, since rebels ousted him 1990 and has become a symbol of Africa's inability to try leaders from the continent accused of rights abuses.

The case at the International Court of Justice is about "taking a stand against impunity in the most serious crimes in international law," Belgian representative Paul Rietjens told judges in the wood-paneled Great Hall of Justice.

Belgium indicted Habre in 2005 for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture based on complaints by survivors of his regime, some of whom have Belgian citizenship, but has failed to persuade Senegal to extradite him to Brussels despite repeated requests.


'Holland's Next Top Model' wins agency lawsuit
Legal World News | 2012/03/07 10:09
A former winner of the television show "Holland's Next Top Model" has won a lawsuit against Elite Model Management after she was dropped for having hips the agency considered too large.

The Amsterdam District Court ruled Wednesday that Ananda Marchildon, now 25, was entitled to the main prize she won in the 2008 production of the show, a three-year contract worth $98,500.

Marchildon argued she was dismissed after only $13,000 worth of work because she didn't lose enough weight to please the agency.

According to the written ruling, though Marchildon had gained weight since getting the contract, she had a hip measurement of 92 centimeters (about 36.2 inches) when she won, and Elite could not demand that she go down to 90 centimeters — about 35.4 inches. That is far smaller than the average woman's hips but not unusual in the modeling world.


Sudan's defense minister sought by int'l court
Legal World News | 2012/03/01 14:56
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Thursday for Sudan's defense minister, the third senior regime official sought by the court for alleged involvement in atrocities in Darfur.

The court announced it wants Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein arrested on a warrant containing seven counts of crimes against humanity and six war crimes including murder, persecution, rape and torture. The charges cover 41 different incidents, the court said.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked judges for the warrant in December, saying Hussein is among those who "bear greatest criminal responsibility" for atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region from August 2003 to March 2004.

Sudan does not recognize the court and refuses to hand over suspects including President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide in Darfur. His government denounced Moreno-Ocampo's request for an arrest warrant for Hussein in December.

At the time covered by the charges, Hussein was interior minister and the Sudan government's special representative in Darfur.


French court rules genocide law unconstitutional
Legal World News | 2012/02/29 10:34
France's Constitutional Council ruled Tuesday that a French law concerning the mass killings of Armenians a century ago violates the country's constitution.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had personally backed the law, immediately said he would ask the government to prepare a new bill taking into account the council's ruling.

The law passed by France's parliament in December makes it a crime to deny that the killings of some 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 constituted genocide. The council ruled the law would violate freedom of expression and speech, which are guaranteed by the French constitution.

Turkey, which says there was no systematic campaign against Armenians, has strongly opposed the French law.

The head of a French Armenian organization, meanwhile, sharply criticized the ruling, saying it was the result of Turkish lobbying.

Relations between France and Turkey have suffered since the law's passage, with Turkey suspending its military and economic cooperation with France after the lower house approval of the measure in December. The French Senate gave the law the green light in late January.


Lower Chinese court rules shops should pull iPads
Legal World News | 2012/02/19 17:26
Apple's dispute over the iPad trademark deepened Monday after the Chinese company that claims ownership of the name said it won a court ruling against sales of the popular tablet computer in China.

Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Shenzhen Proview Technology, said the Intermediate People's Court in Huizhou, a city in southern China's Guangdong province, had ruled on Friday that distributors should stop selling iPads in China.

The ruling, which was also reported widely in China's state media, may not have a far-reaching effect. In its battle with Apple, Proview is utilizing lawsuits in several places and also requesting commercial authorities in 40 cities to block iPad sales.

Apple Inc. said in a statement Monday that its case is still pending in mainland China. The company has appealed to Guangdong's High Court against an earlier ruling in Proview's favor.

Apple insists it holds the trademark rights to the iPad in China.


EU court: Web sites need not check for IP breaches
Legal World News | 2012/02/16 17:49
A European Union court ruled Thursday that social networking sites cannot be compelled to install general filters to prevent the illegal trading of music and other copyrighted material.

The decision is a victory for operators of social networking sites in the EU, but a setback for those who seek to protect copyrighted material from being distributed without payment or permission.

It also comes as protests are growing in Europe against ACTA, the proposed international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which is meant to protect intellectual property rights.

In Thursday's decision, the EU Court of Justice, which is based in Luxembourg, ruled that requiring general filters that would cover all the site's users would not sufficiently protect personal data or the freedom to receive and impart information.

SABAM, a Belgian company that represents authors, composers and music publishers, filed the lawsuit leading to Thursday's ruling. In it, the company objected to the practices of Netlog NV, a social networking site, saying users' profiles allowed protected works to be shared illegally.

Michael Gardner, head of the intellectual property practice at London law firm Wedlake Bell, called the ruling a further blow to copyright owners because it appears to rule out forcing operators of social network sites and Internet service providers — at their own expense — to impose blanket monitoring and filtering aimed at stopping infringements.


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