In Court

Published: Tuesday 31 January 2006

japanese resist dam:Japan's Osaka High Court (HC) recently ordered construction of a dam on the Echigawa river, to be shelved due to environmental concerns. This is an important win for the residents of Higashi-Omi village who have been fighting against the dam project for 11 years. The HC said the farm ministry had drawn up the dam project without making proper geological surveys as required by law and that some of the topographical surveys and drilling studies compiled by officials had grave errors. The judge set aside a lower court ruling, which said it was not legally possible to stop a project once approved by the government. According to the government, the 1994 decision to build the dam can no longer be changed because the existing dam, in use since 1973, cannot meet the demands of the farmers in Higashi Omi and four other towns. Soon after the government challenged* the Osaka court ruling before the Supreme Court.

death sentence annulled: The Libyan Supreme Court recently overturned the death sentence of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who have been in jail since 1999 on allegations of purposely infecting children with the AIDS virus. The court ordered a retrial for the six defendants claiming 'irregularities' in handling the case. The medics, who have spent almost seven years in prison, say they were made scapegoats for poor hospital hygiene and their confessions were extracted under torture. Parents and relatives of the infected children stood outside the Supreme Court, protesting against the decision and calling for the death penalty. The retrial appears to be an attempt to end the stand-off between Libya and the West. The US and the European Union had condemned the conviction and accused Libya of making up false charges to divert attention from poor hygiene at its hospitals -- the real cause.

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