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Friday News Flip 14 October 2016

CORRUPTION

The Kenyan ombudsman has accused the Treasury of diverting funds from government ministries. It is unclear whether or not the diversion may have been for fraudulent purposes.

The South African ombudsman has delayed the release of an anti-corruption report into ‘state capture’ by President Jacob Zuma’s wealthy friends pending the hearing of a case that the president filed challenging the findings of the report.

Nonetheless, the ombudsman seems to have impressed her fellow South Africans with her fearlessness in taking on powerful individuals- including the president- who engage in graft.

Here is an important report (SIGAR report) on how the US failed to address corruption in Afghanistan and how this is fuelling the current instability. Here is some commentary on the report: the blog post writer points out that- as is sadly too common- politics took priority over battling corruption.

Another article argues that it is this corruption that is driving Afghans overseas as illegal migrants.

 CRIMINAL LAW

The number of reported rapes in the UK has doubled over the last 4 years. Conversely the number of rape convictions obtained appears to have fallen.

A man who refused UK intelligence service MI5’s attempts to recruit him has been convicted of terrorism offences for attempting to join Islamic State.

This article discusses the potential impact of the recently concluded ICC case against Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi who was sentenced to 9 years in prison for the destruction of Timbuktu shrines.

Do politicians manipulate our sense of injustice to support intervention for certain international crimes (terrorism) rather than others (torture)? Here is some recent research on this issue.

MONEY LAUNDERING

The UK government is seeking to create new regulations on reporting suspicious transactions. This article points out that giving the police more time to investigate such tip-offs could have the unwanted effect of delaying (or killing) transactions as wide ranging as buying a family home or arranging the merger of multi-billion dollar corporations.

 SENTENCING

In an apparent abuse of alternative dispute resolution, a Kenyan man appearing before traditional elders was allegedly fined Ksh.17,000 ($168 in 2016) and a cow for defiling a his six year old daughter.

In another blow to the death penalty in the US (after the recent US Supreme Court case limiting the use of victim statements in capital cases), the Florida Supreme Court held that death penalty juries must give a unanimous verdict for a conviction. Research seems to show that juries in the US are less likely to be thorough in considering evidence if only a majority decision is required. It is not clear if the ruling would apply retroactively to those Floridian death-row convicts already sentenced under the previous law.

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