Thursday, October 29, 1998

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  • British Court Rules On Pinochet Immunity Case

    Britain’s high court ruled yesterday that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is protected from arrest by diplomatic immunity, quashing two international arrest warrants issued by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon this past October 16. The decision stunned many international legal scholars because the British judges accepted Pinochet’s argument that former heads of state cannot be arrested and tried for actions undertaken while in office. While Pinochet will remain in custody awaiting a final decision by the House of Lords next week, human rights groups voiced their alarm that the case could establish a dangerous precedent. Even former rulers, they argue, are not above international humanitarian law and must be brought to justice if they commit crimes against humanity.

  • South Africa Truth Commission Ends Two Year Investigation

    As the South African Truth Commission sets out today to release its long-awaited report on human rights violations during the apartheid era, a flurry of last-minute legal appeals by former South African President F.W. DeClerk have succeeded in removing key sections of the report until he had has a chance to review the allegations. The Truth Commission agreed yesterday to cut portions on De Klerk from the document that implicated the former South African President in human rights violations committed under his rule. In response, the African National Congress (ANC) also launched an urgent legal action late yesterday to block damning allegations against it made in the report.

  • Clinton Pledges More Aid to Colombia — Help Or Hindrance?

    President Clinton yesterday met with Colombia’s new conservative President, Andres Pastrana. At the top of their agenda: Colombia s drug trade, and the Colombian peace process. While the Clinton administration has paid lip service to the second issue, it has pumped millions of dollars worth of military aid into the so-called war on drugs. Just this past month, Congress approved a $2.3 billion drug interdiction act that will increase military aid to Colombia, despite its dismal human rights record.

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