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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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Israel violated rules of war in strikes on Gaza homes: group

Israel violated human rightsA majority of Palestinians killed in dozens of Israeli attacks on Gaza homes in the 2014 war with Hamas were women, minors or elderly people, and some of the strikes violated the rules of war, an Israeli rights group said Wednesday.

The B'Tselem group called strikes on homes "one of the appalling hallmarks of the fighting" and said they were part of a policy approved at the top levels of the government and the military.

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Commander in Joseph Kony's feared militia appears in ICC

KonyA commander in warlord Joseph Kony's feared militia made his first appearance before an International Criminal Court judge Monday, calling himself a former soldier who was abducted and "taken to the bush" when he was just 14.

Dominic Ongwen appeared in court for a brief hearing to confirm his identity and that he understood the charges against him. He was not required to enter a plea.

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Guantánamo officials faked letter from inmate’s mother who could not write

StahiGuantánamo prison camp authorities tried to trick inmate Mohamedou Ould Slahi by forging a letter purportedly from his mother whom he had been unable to see for years, his brother Yahdih has said.

The ploy, which was intended to persuade him to cooperate with his interrogators, failed not only because they misspelt Slahi’s name but also because his mother could not write.

This week Slahi became the first inmate to publish a memoir while still incarcerated when Guantánamo Diary was published in 20 countries and serialised in the Guardian.

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Former enemy combatant Ali al-Marri released from prison early, deported from U.S.

Al-AmaraAfter more than 13 years in local, military and federal jails or prisons on terrorism-related charges, a former West Peoria resident is home in his native Qatar, leaving a series of short-term questions and long-term legal ramifications in his wake.

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, 49, was spirited out of the United States on Friday, two days before he was scheduled to be released from a maximum security prison in Florence, Colo.

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Australian aims another blow at Gitmo military justice system

Guantanamo nightmare“David Hicks didn’t commit any crime,” according to his lawyer Wells Dixon, and that’s why the Australian former Guantánamo prisoner is seeking to quash his conviction by a U.S. Military Commission. If he succeeds, Hicks will have dealt a serious blow to the already embattled system created by the Bush Administration to circumvent the U.S. legal system in dealing with Guantánamo detainees.

The Australian who spent almost six years at the island prison after he was sold to U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001, in 2007 became the first detainee tried by a military commission. He had been one of three detainees to file the first habeas corpus petitions challenging the government’s authority to hold them without due process — a case they won before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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