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Ukraine Dispatch: Hague trial of suspects charged in downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 postponed until September – JURIST

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Ukrainian law students and young lawyers are reporting for JURIST on national and international developments affecting Ukraine. This dispatch is from Anastasiia Rozvadovska, a recent graduate of the Taras Shevchenko National University in kyiv. Nearly eight years after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, the suspects’ trial at The Hague District Court concluded on July 17. In 2014, MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over an area of ​​eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian government forces were fighting Russian forces. Prosecutors say the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile fired from Russian-controlled territory. All 298 passengers and crew were killed, 196 of them Dutch citizens. The Netherlands and Australia have said they hold Russia responsible, since it supplied the missile system used to shoot down the plane. Moscow, of course, denies its involvement. In August 2014, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, and Belgium established a joint team to investigate possible criminal irregularities in the downing of the plane. In 2017, those countries agreed that prosecutions would take place in the Netherlands under Dutch law. In June 2019, prosecutors named the first group of suspects: Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin, and Leonid Kharchenko. Prosecutors identified them as participating in the organization and delivery of the missile system that brought down the plane. The problem is that although the Netherlands has issued an international arrest warrant for the four, who are believed to be in Russia, Russia has not cooperated with the court or extradited its subjects. Still, Oleg Pulatov’s lawyers, as well as a Russian law expert and translator, were present at the beginning of the trial. The other three men, Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko, are being tried in absentia. However, if the suspects are found guilty and sentenced in absentia without taking part in the trial, they have the possibility of a new trial if they are ever taken into Dutch custody. Pulatov’s defense team asked the court for a full acquittal in March. “Our client is not the one who pressed the button, not the one who ordered the button to be pressed, not the one who authorized the button to be pressed, and not the one who provided the gun,” defense attorney Sabine ten Doesschate told the court in that moment. . According to her, the prosecution deliberately turned a blind eye to other explanations for the air disaster. She also questioned the validity of much of the evidence presented during the two-year trial. At the end of last year, the prosecution requested life sentences for the four men. “Only the maximum sentence is appropriate,” prosecutor Manon Ridderbecks argued in December. The trial ended on June 10, 2022 with a video address (starting at 37:35) of Oleg Pulatov, one of the four defendants, who said that he did not plead guilty. he guilty of shooting down the MH17 and the death of 298 people. “I am not guilty, I had nothing to do with the accident on July 17, 2014,” he said in Russian, which was translated by the court. His lawyers called the charges baseless and urged the court to acquit Pulatov. Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the next hearing would take place on September 22 at 10:00 local time, but it would be formal. The court is expected to indicate when sentencing could be delivered at that hearing. According to Steenhuis, the court needs time to consider all the arguments. Many Ukrainians have followed the judicial procedure, since it concerns Ukrainian territory held by Russia. According to Russian propaganda, there was no Russian army in this area. In my opinion, the court’s decision will prove once again that Russian citizens have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.

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Indian court keeps journalist in police custody over tweet – JURIST

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The Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday ordered journalist and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to be held in police custody for four days. Zubair was arrested on Monday for the offenses of hurting religious sentiments and inciting enmity under Sections 153 and 295 of the Indian Penal Code. In 2018, Zubair posted a tweet showing a hotel whose name he changed from “Honeymoon Hotel” to “Hanuman Hotel”. Hanuman is a Hindu god. Delhi police arrested him based on a complaint about that tweet, which alleged that Zubair tweeted a “questionable image for the purpose of deliberately insulting the god of a particular religion.” accused for posting the tweet in question will be retrieved at the behest of the accused Mohammed Zubair from his residence in Bangalore, that the accused has not cooperated and (with) the disclosure statement recorded, four days PC (police custody) preventive detention of the accused will be concedes as the accused will be taken to Bangalore. Zubair’s arrest has been condemned by international organizations and national news organizations, including United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, Amnesty International, the Press Club of India and other media outlets.

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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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