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Friday, Mar 27th

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Family of slain US activist blasts Israeli court ruling

Rachel CoreyIsrael's Supreme Court has put an end to decade-long legal proceedings on whether the Israeli army would be held liable for the March 2003 death of American national Rachel Corrie, a pro-Palestinian demonstrator crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while attempting to prevent a housing demolition in the Gaza Strip.

Corrie's family was pursuing a case against Israel's defence ministry, alleging the army was guilty either of intentionally murdering Rachel, or of negligence while operating the bulldozer. The family appealed a 2012 ruling delivered by a lower court in Haifa that declared Corrie's death an accident.

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Human Rights Watch Accuses Sudan Soldiers Of Mass Rape In Darfur

Sudan rape accusationsA U.S.-based human rights group on Wednesday accused Sudanese soldiers of raping at least 221 women and girls in Sudan's Darfur region late last year after the United Nations said U.N.-African Union attempts to investigate were blocked by Khartoum.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the mass rape took place during three days of attacks.

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The U.S. Female Genital Mutilation Crisis

FGM crisisSince the practice of female genital mutilation was outlawed by the United States in 1996, the federal-level crackdown has been swift and unforgiving. In the following decades, 22 states would add their own bans, and “vacation cutting,” or taking minors abroad for the purpose of FGM, would be outlawed.

But now, new numbers show that these measures have done little to stanch the skyrocketing rate at which girls are subjected to this cruel form of circumcision on our shores.

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Top defense official: Fear of Gitmo 'recidivists' unfounded

Gitmo reidivist fear unfoundedClosing Guantánamo Bay prison is in the national interest of the United States, and fears of recidivism among prisoners released from the detention center are unfounded, a top defense official said today at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“The president has determined that closing it is a national security imperative,” Brian McKeon, principal under secretary of Defense for policy, said at the hearing on the future of the U.S. prison at GuantánamoBay, Cuba. “The continued operation of the facility weakens our national security by draining resources damaging our relationships with key allies and is used by violent extremists to incite local populations.”

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U.S. judge to lead U.N. war crimes investigation of 2014 Israeli-Gaza conflict

McGowan DavisFormer New York State Supreme Court justice Mary McGowan Davis will replace the recently resigned William Schabas as the leader of the United Nation's investigation into the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.

Davis was already part of Schabas' three-person team. The United Nations Human Rights Council chose not to select a new member for the investigation, as it is almost complete.  Davis spent 24 years as judge or federal prosecutor in her criminal justice career.

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Lead U.N. investigator of 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict resigns over bias allegations

Willliam SchabasWilliam Schabas, the head of a United Nations investigation into the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, has resigned due to bias allegations for his previous work with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The investigation seeks to determine if potential war crimes were committed in the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The panel's inquiries, sanctioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council, are set to be released in March.

Israel has refused to cooperate with the investigation and accused Schabas of "clear and documented bias."

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Record number of defendants exonerated in 2014

125 people exonerated in 2014A record 125 defendants falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated in 2014, according to a report from the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan Law School. The figure represents a one-third increase in exonerations from 2012.

A bulk of the increase came from a single county: Harris County, Texas — home to Houston — where 33 people were exonerated after having been convicted of drug possession. Most of the defendants in those cases had pled guilty and were exonerated only after tests revealed they had not been carrying illicit substances.

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