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August 19, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- A prisoners' rights lawyer says Monday's federal judge's order allowing California prison doctors to force-feed inmates on hunger strike "violates international law and generally accepted medical ethics. " Force-feeding "should only be used as a last resort, but here there are a number of reasonable alternatives,” said Jules Lobel, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents many of the hunger strike leaders in their related lawsuit over solitary confinement conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison.
August 3, 2013
Re "Israelis and Palestinians to confront tough issues," July 31 It is disappointing that the United States continues to show unconditional support for Israel even when our ally violates international law and ignores U.N. resolutions condemning its behavior. From 1972 to 2011, the United States has issued the only vetoes to 42 U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Israel's behavior, most of which were related to the occupied territories. These negotiations would be unnecessary if Israel would respect U.N. resolutions and the International Court of Justice concerning settlements, borders, the right of return, the separation barrier with much of the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem.
July 16, 2013 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Cuba announced Tuesday that the missile parts the Panamanian government found hidden in a North Korean cargo ship heading home were part of a stash of aging military equipment in need of repair. Cuba's Exterior Relations Ministry said the North Korean ship contained 240 metric tons, or about 529,000 pounds, of "obsolete defensive armaments" that were being sent to North Korea to be repaired and returned to Cuba; it said it also carried about 10,000 tons of sugar. Among the armaments, the ministry statement said, were two antiaircraft missile systems, nine missiles "in parts and pieces," two MIG-21s and 15 engines for such planes.
July 10, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
On Monday, some 30,000 inmates across California began refusing meals to protest a state prison policy that often lands suspected gang members in solitary confinement indefinitely - a policy that Amnesty International has deemed to be "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in violation of international law. " In theory, the policy is intended to protect other inmates and to prevent gang members from continuing to organize criminal activity from...
April 4, 2013 | By Emily Alpert
Alarmed by reports that Saudi Arabia will paralyze a man as punishment for allegedly stabbing a friend who ended up paralyzed, Britain urged the kingdom Thursday to abandon the “grotesque punishment.” The Saudi Gazette reported last week that Ali Khawahir was sentenced to be paralyzed if he could not pay 1 million riyals - roughly $270,000 - to the friend he allegedly stabbed a decade ago. Khawahir was reportedly 14 years old when he...
January 24, 2013 | By Emily Alpert
A United Nations expert has launched an investigation of drone attacks and targeted killings, scrutinizing a deeply controversial tool in the United States' battle against Al Qaeda. “The plain fact is that this technology is here to stay,” U.N. special rapporteur Ben Emmerson announced Thursday in London, “and its use … is a reality with which the world must contend.” Drones are not the only way to carry out targeted killings, but the relative ease with which they are used and their devastating effects have spotlighted the legal unease around them, the U.N. expert said.
October 16, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano and Joseph Serna
A federal appeals court in Washington overturned the conviction of Salim Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, and ruled military tribunals were not authorized to try prisoners suspected of providing material support to terrorist groups before 2006. In a 3-0 ruling, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that material support for terrorism was not a crime under international law when Hamdan worked for Al Qaeda.  “If the government wanted to charge Hamdan with aiding and abetting terrorism or some other war crime that was sufficiently rooted in the international law of war at the time of Hamdan's conduct, it should have done so,” wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
October 12, 2012
Re "Alien torts in America's courts," Editorial, Oct. 8 Your editorial on whether the Alien Torts Statute applies to human rights abuses occurring outside the United States makes the mistake of assuming that the issue of piracy, which clearly and unmistakably is subject to universal jurisdiction, is necessarily a "logical extension" of that tried-and-true policy. But piracy has been around for ages, and this kind of lawlessness has for eons been considered the enemy of mankind.
October 11, 2012
Re "She's on the front lines in drone battle," Oct. 9 Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell and political activist Imran Khan contend that the U.S. strategy of covert targeted drone strikes against militants outside Afghanistan is illegal under international law. The U.S. finds itself at war against a stateless band of Islamic militants who kill innocent civilians with explosives and launch attacks against Western embassies and civilian targets outside...
October 9, 2012 | By Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O'Connell was in her office last month when Imran Khan, a former cricket star who could be Pakistan's next prime minister, phoned to ask for help. Pakistanis are furious about the CIA's covert campaign of drone missile strikes, Khan told her. Was she aware that the CIA often doesn't know who it is killing? "Yes, of all Americans, I think I have a pretty good handle on the facts," she replied, recounting the call. O'Connell, a fierce critic of America's drone attacks outside a war zone, insists the targeted killings are illegal under international law. "We wouldn't accept or want a world in which Russia or China or Iran is claiming authority to kill alleged enemies of the state based on secret evidence of the executive branch alone," O'Connell said.
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