Legal Suntimes - Political & Legal

Burundi has become the first country to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, but officials say the court's prosecutor will move ahead with an examination of the East African nation's deadly political turmoil.

An ICC spokesman confirmed that the pullout took effect Friday, a year after Burundi notified the United Nations secretary-general of its intention to leave the court that prosecutes the world's worst atrocities.

Burundi is the only one of three African nations to go ahead with withdrawal after they made moves last year to leave amid accusations that the court focuses too much on the continent. South Africa's withdrawal was revoked in March. Gambia's new government reversed its withdrawal in February.

On Friday, Burundi's justice minister called the ICC withdrawal "a great achievement" in reinforcing the country's independence. Aimee Laurentine Kanyana also called on police and prosecutors to respect human rights so that "white people" won't have "false proofs to rely on in accusing Burundi."

Burundi's withdrawal doesn't affect the preliminary examination of the country's situation already underway by the court's prosecutor, ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah told The Associated Press. That examination began in April 2016.

Burundi has faced deadly political turmoil since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to seek a disputed third term that he ultimately won.
For two decades, Jerry Wolkoff let graffiti artists use his crumbling Queens warehouse complex as a canvas for their vibrant works. Artists gave the spot the name "5Pointz" — a place where all five New York City boroughs come together — but painters traveled from as far as Japan and Brazil to tag, bomb and burn at what became a graffiti mecca and a tourist destination.

But like most graffiti, it didn't last. Wolkoff whitewashed the building in 2013 then tore it down to build luxury apartment towers.

Four years later, some of the artists whose work was destroyed are in court, arguing that even though the building belonged to Wolkoff, the art was protected by federal law.

A trial that started Tuesday at a federal court in Brooklyn will determine whether the artists should be compensated for the lost work.

More than 20 artists sued Wolkoff under the Visual Artists Rights Act, or VARA, a 1990 federal statute that protects artists' rights even if someone else owns the physical artwork.

A trial that started Tuesday at a federal court in Brooklyn will determine whether the artists should be compensated for the lost work.

More than 20 artists sued Wolkoff under the Visual Artists Rights Act, or VARA, a 1990 federal statute that protects artists' rights even if someone else owns the physical artwork.

Barry Werbin, an attorney specializing in intellectual property, said the case is significant because no lawsuit under the statute has been tried by a jury before.
A Japanese court has ruled that a utility, not the government, should pay compensation to dozens of former residents of Fukushima for losses to their livelihood caused by meltdowns at a nuclear plant after a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Chiba District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday to pay a total of 376 million yen ($3.4 million) to most of the 45 plaintiffs who sought compensation over the loss of their livelihoods and communities because of radiation contamination.

The court dismissed the plaintiffs' claim the government should also be held responsible for its failure to enforce tsunami safety measures.

About 30 other compensation suits filed by tens of thousands of former Fukushima residents are still pending.

The wrecked Fukushima plant's decommissioning is expected to take decades.
The Ohio Supreme Court has set a 2022 execution date for a man sentenced to die for fatally shooting a man in an argument over a sewing machine.

Death row inmate Percy Hutton, of Cleveland, was sentenced to die for the 1985 slaying of Derek Mitchell.

Hutton's attorney, Michael Benza, argues the execution date shouldn't be scheduled because the 63-year-old Hutton still has federal appeals pending.

The court on Friday scheduled Hutton to die on June 22, 2022.

Court records show Hutton accused Mitchell of stealing tires and a sewing machine from him, and shot him after recovering the sewing machine. Records say Hutton also shot a second man who survived.
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in the appeal of a man sentenced to death for setting a fire that killed his fiancee's two children.

A Clark County jury convicted 41-year-old Jeffrey Weisheit on murder and arson charges in 2013 for the 2010 deaths of 5-year-old Caleb Lynch and 8-year-old Alyssa Lynch at the family's home near Evansville.

The Supreme Court is to take up his appeal on Sept. 7. Weisheit is arguing he wasn't adequately represented by his defense attorneys during his trial.

Weisheit admitted during the trial that he stuffed a dish towel into Caleb's mouth and used duct tape to pin back the boy's arms before leaving the children alone about 1 a.m. while their mother was at work, but he denied setting the fire.

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