Dominique Strauss-Kahn bat le bitume (Photo credit: bixintx)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged in France with “aggravated pimping” for his alleged participation in a prostitution ring.
His attorneys released a statement in November calling the allegations against Mr. Strauss-Kahn “unhealthy, sensationalist and not without a political agenda.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn has been linked with a number of sex scandals in the past year, but he has not been convicted of any crime.
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The French Supreme Court has struck down a law prohibiting denial of the Armenian genocide and reaffirmed the French commitment to liberty.
The law would have punished a denial with up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of roughly $60,000.
The French council has concluded that such a law “infringed unconstitutionally on the exercise of the liberty of expression and communication.”
French President Sarkozy has vowed to redraft the law. The Constitutional Council suggested that some limitations could be placed on speech to protect privacy and public order, but that such limitations must be “necessary, adapted and proportional.” Pres. Sarkozy’s office seemed to latch on to the language and stated that, “The President of the Republic considers that (genocide) denial is intolerable and must therefore be punished.” What is intolerable, however, is using the criminal code to combat anti-historical speech as defined by the government. If government can define the “correct” history for citizens to recite, they can rewrite history.
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Haitian President Michel Martelly says he won’t interfere in the case of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, the National Palace said Friday.
The office of the president issued a statement saying he respects the rule of law and has no right to meddle in the affairs of an independent judiciary that’s overseeing the case.
As evidence of the government’s commitment the law, the statement cites Pres. Martelly’s request for international legal experts to help Haiti’s judicial system.
The announcement comes five days after a magistrate recommended that Mr. Duvalier face trial for alleged financial crimes but not for human rights abuses.
The ruling prompted human rights groups to accuse the judge of disregarding testimony and laws that would have enabled prosecution on the more serious crimes. Some activists also complain that many of the new government’s officials have personal or family ties to the Duvalier regime that ruled from 1971 until it was overthrown in 1986.
Mr. Duvalier was nineteen when he assumed the presidency from his more ruthless father, Francois.
The younger Duvalier moved back to Haiti last year after twenty-five years in exile in France. Upon his return, he was charged with embezzlement and human rights abuses.
His defense attorneys contend that the statute of limitations against the alleged crimes has expired, a matter disputed by international rights advocates.
The Duvalier case is now expected to go before the attorney general, who must decide whether the case should go to a court that handles lesser crimes.
Via the Associated Press.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Cambodia’s U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has run out of money to pay the wages of hundreds of workers as contributions from donor countries have dried up.
None of the more than 300 Cambodians working at the tribunal, from judges to drivers, will be paid this month and may not receive their salaries in February and March either.
Some judges and prosecutors have not been paid since October.
The funding shortfall does not affect the more than 130 international employees at the war crimes court. The United Nations pays the wages of international employees.
Voluntary contributions from donor nations pay the salaries of Cambodian staff members.
The court, set up to find justice for the deaths of two million people during the Khmer Rouge’s rule, is perpetually cash-strapped, but this is the longest period of non-payment.
The tribunal has long been dogged by allegations of political meddling, adding to donor reluctance to stump up more cash.
Court officials will travel to New York in February to meet with donor countries to discuss the court’s budget for 2012-2013.
The court, which has spent $150 million since 2006, has completed one trial, sentencing a former prison chief to thirty years. An appeal verdict in that case is expected on Friday.
A second trial involving the regime’s three most senior surviving leaders is ongoing.
Via The Bangkok Post.
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A new report published by New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that French police abuse their power when dealing with black and Arab men and boys. It said that police “conduct unwarranted and abusive identity checks” against the minorities.
The report, “The Root of Humiliation: Abusive Identity Checks in France,” reveals that minority youth, including children, are “subjected to frequent stops involving lengthy questioning, invasive body pat-downs, and the search of personal belongings.”
HRW says that continuous stops of youth are arbitrary and have no semblance of purpose, except to harass the young minorities.
The rights group, which conducted interviews with youth in France, said police often use insulting language and racial slurs as well as unnecessary force against the youth.
Under French law, police have wide discretion to carry out identity checks without any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. The police do not record the stops, and those stopped do not receive any written documentation explaining the incident. Most of those HRW interviewed had never been told the grounds for the stops they had experienced.