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International organizations warn that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses “profound risks” to the environment – JURIST

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More than 900 international law, environmental and peacebuilding experts and 156 organizations warned Thursday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses “profound risks” to the environment of Ukraine and the greater European region, in addition to the risks that the conflict represents for the sovereignty and human rights of the Ukrainian people. The letter published on Thursday first stated that the undersigned experts and organizations stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people “in the face of an aggressive invasion of their country by the Russian Federation in clear violation of international law and the fundamental right of the Ukrainian people.” Ukrainian people to democratic self-determination. The letter then went on to discuss the “potentially catastrophic environmental impacts” of the conflict. The letter noted concern over the Russian seizure of the Chernobyl power plant. He stated that other sites, such as any of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors, are also at risk. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported missile attacks near other radioactive waste disposal facilities. The attacks have also caused fires in fuel storage areas and the rupture of a gas pipeline in Kharkiv as a result of the conflict. According to the letter, these actions, including damage to infrastructure, “are clear violations of international law.” The undersigned experts and organizations called on Russia to stop attacking and fighting near nuclear and chemical facilities immediately. They also called on the international community to protect environmental defenders in Ukraine and mobilize resources for a “rapid and remote environmental assessment of the conflict.” The letter ended with a call to the relevant authorities to monitor and investigate possible violations of human rights and international environmental law. On the same day, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed that there were 802 civilian casualties in Ukraine in the first week of conflict. Of those 802 casualties, 249 died and 553 were injured. On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to establish the International Independent Commission of Inquiry, which aims to investigate alleged human rights violations by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

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US Supreme Court Grants Review of Federal Bankruptcy Case – JURIST

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On Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear MOAC Mall Holdings v. Transform Holdco, a case examining appellate court jurisdiction over sales orders in federal bankruptcy proceedings. The case revolves around the sale and transfer of a lease for a store in a shopping center. In 1991, Sears obtained a lease for a store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The lease only cost Sears $10 a year and was supposed to last 100 years. Sears, however, went bankrupt in 2018. As part of federal bankruptcy proceedings, Sears sold its assets and the Mall of America lease was transferred to Transform Holdco LLC, a corporation formed by Sears’ new owners. Mall of America sought to prevent the transfer because they claim that Transform Holdco LLC does not intend to occupy the leased facilities but to sublet them to other companies. Transform Holdco LLC argues that the long-term lease constitutes a substantial portion of the value Sears was sold for in the bankruptcy proceeding. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit transferred the lease as it was deemed “integral” to a court-approved bankruptcy sale. Mall of America filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, arguing that a remedy is available that would not affect the validity of the sale. Therefore, according to Mall of America, the appellate court should be allowed to intervene. Transform Holdco LLC responds that no such remedy exists, and that the Second Circuit’s ruling should stand. The US Supreme Court must now determine whether federal bankruptcy law limits appeals on sales orders deemed “comprehensive,” even when a remedy is available that will not affect the validity of the sale. The court is set to hear oral arguments in the case next term.

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US appeals court to rehear challenge to Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine executive order – JURIST

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The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order on Monday stating that the court will rehear Feds for Medical Freedom v. Biden, a challenge to President Joe Biden’s 2019 executive order that required federal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. In late May and early June, America First Legal Foundation, America’s Frontline Doctors, Airline Employees For Freedom Health, and an additional group of vaccine plaintiffs filed four amicus briefs in favor of a new full hearing. The plaintiffs in Rodden v. Fauci also filed a class action lawsuit made up of federal employees who contracted COVID-19, developed COVID-19 antibodies, “but remain subject to the federal employee vaccination mandate.” The Rodden plaintiffs argue that Biden and the “agencies he directs have no power to direct the personal medical decisions of federal employees,” and therefore this executive order is like an illegal government mandate. In addition, the group asserts that the panel’s refusal to review executive employment decisions is unlawful and thus protects “the exercise of unlawful governmental power.” In January 2022, a Texas judge blocked Biden’s executive order. Other state judges have also blocked enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In December 2021, a Georgia judge blocked the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for government contractors after the Texas Governor ordered a statewide ban on all COVID-19 vaccination mandates in October 2021 .

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Ukraine’s richest man sues Russia for loss of property and profits – JURIST

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Ukraine’s richest man on Monday filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights against Russia for “serious violations of his property rights during Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.” Rinat Akhmetov, a Ukrainian businessman who owns much of the country’s manufacturing infrastructure, says he has lost billions of dollars in business since the Russian invasion began. Akhmetov’s announcement highlighted both ongoing human rights violations and infrastructure destruction committed by Russia. He wrote: In addition to the untold human suffering he has caused, Russia’s invasion has resulted in massive destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure. The shelling of the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol by Russian artillery seeking to eliminate the last vestiges of Ukrainian resistance in that city has become an international symbol of Russia’s disregard for international law and human rights. As the owner of the Azovstal steel complex, Akhmetov has suffered estimated losses of billions of dollars in both property and profits as a direct result of the Russian invasion. This lawsuit is one of the first initiated by a private individual against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Akhmetov stated several times throughout the announcement that he hopes the court will award him damages so that Ukraine can begin to rebuild.

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