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The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday rejected a complaint against Germany’s refusal to prosecute an officer who ordered the deadly bombing in 2009 of two fuel tankers in northern Afghanistan.

Scores of people died when U.S. Air Force jets bombed the tankers hijacked by the Taliban near Kunduz. The strike was ordered by the commander of the German base in Kunduz, Col. Georg Klein, who feared insurgents could use the trucks to carry out attacks.

Contrary to the intelligence Klein based his decision on, most of those swarming the trucks were local civilians invited by the Taliban to siphon fuel from the vehicles after they had become stuck in a riverbed.

An Afghan man who lost two sons aged 8 and 12 in the airstrike, Abdul Hanan, took the case to the European Court of Human Rights after German authorities declined to prosecute Klein. He alleged that Germany failed to conduct an effective investigation and that no “effective domestic remedy” to that had been available in Germany.

The Strasbourg, France-based court rejected the complaints. It found that German federal prosecutors were “able to rely on a considerable amount of material concerning the circumstances and the impact of the airstrike.”

It also noted that courts including Germany’s highest, the Federal Constitutional Court, rejected cases by Hanan. And it added that a parliamentary commission of inquiry “had ensured a high level of public scrutiny of the case.”

Wolfgang Kaleck, the head of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights who provided legal support to Hanan, said the verdict was a disappointment for the plaintiff and his fellow villagers, but noted that judges had made clear that governments have a duty to at least investigate such cases.

“The bombardment and the dozens of civilian deaths didn’t result in a rebuke, there’s no resumption of the criminal case,” he told reporters after the court announced its decision. “On the other hand it will be very important internationally, also in future, that the European Convention on Human Rights applies,” Kaleck said. “That’s to say, those who conduct such military operations have to legally answer for them afterward, hopefully to a greater extent than in the Kunduz case.”

A separate legal effort to force Germany to pay more compensation than the $5,000 it has so far given families for each victim was rejected last year by the Federal Constitutional Court. This civil case can still be appealed in Strasbourg.




A Saudi court issued final verdicts on Monday in the case of slain Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi after his son, who still resides in the kingdom, announced pardons that spared five of the convicted individuals from execution.

While the trial draws to its conclusion in Saudi Arabia, the case continues to cast a shadow over the international standing of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose associates have been sanctioned by the U.S. and the U.K. for their alleged involvement in the brutal killing, which took place inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The Riyadh Criminal Court’s final verdicts were announced by Saudi Arabia’s state television, which aired few details about the eight Saudi nationals and did not name them. The court ordered a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the five. Another individual received a 10-year sentence, and two others were ordered to serve seven years in prison.

A team of 15 Saudi agents had flown to Turkey to meet Khashoggi inside the consulate for his appointment on Oct. 2, 2018 to pick up documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiance, who waited outside. The team included a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers, and individuals who worked directly for the crown prince’s office, according to Agnes Callamard, who investigated the killing for the United Nations.

Turkish officials allege Khashoggi was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw inside the consulate. His body has not been found. Turkey apparently had the consulate bugged and shared audio of the killing with the C.I.A., among others.

Western intelligence agencies, as well as the U.S. Congress, have said the crown prince bears ultimate responsibility for the killing and that an operation of this magnitude could not have happened without his knowledge.

The 35-year-old prince denies any knowledge of the operation and has condemned the killing. He continues to have the support of his father, King Salman, and remains popular among Saudi youth at home. He also maintains the support of President Donald Trump, who has defended U.S.-Saudi ties in the face of the international outcry over the slaying.



Landlord advocacy groups filed a special action with the Arizona State Supreme Court Wednesday seeking to invalidate as unconstitutional Gov. Doug Ducey's moratorium on evictions of people who have missed rent payments because they became ill or lost their income due to the coronavirus.

The Arizona Multihousing Association, the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona and several individual property owners filed the action directly with the high court. It argues the moratorium violates the state constitution's separation of powers and its contract clause.

The multihousing association's president and CEO Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus says owners have waived fees, worked with renters to make payments, and helped them fill out government relief applications.

But five months after the moratorium was first imposed “we are at a breaking point,” she said, noting that property owners also have mortgages, taxes and other bills to pay.

She said rental housing is the only area of the state economy that has been compelled to provide a product or service free of charge during the pandemic. Ducey signed the moratorium order on March 24 and recently extended it until Oct. 31.

There was no immediate reaction from the governor's office to the court filing, which named the state and several justices of the peace and constables from around Arizona who are charged with serving eviction notices.

Arizona’s initial 120-day moratorium ending July 22 was supposed to ensure people wouldn’t lose their homes if they got COVID-19 or lost their jobs during pandemic restrictions. But advocates argued it was too early to end the ban because most of the government money set aside to help pay rents and mortgages still hasn’t been doled out.

The Arizona Housing Department still has a backlog of people trying to get rental assistance. Gregory Real Estate Management of Phoenix in July sued Ducey over the moratorium and asked that it be allowed to evict a family in a rental home in the city of Surprise over unpaid rent, which the firm says has passed $8,000.

But a Maricopa County Superior Court judge upheld the moratorium and disagreed with the company's argument that the governor’s action exceeded his authority or was unconstitutional. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Pandemic restrictions, such as reducing capacity or closing businesses, are intended to limit crowds that can spread the virus.



Rosemary Roberts, the mother of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, has died. She was 90. A spokeswoman for the court said Rosemary Roberts died Saturday. Roberts was born Rosemary Podrasky in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and married John G. Roberts Sr. in 1952, according to an obituary published in The Tribune-Democrat.

She worked in Pennsylvania and New York as a customer service representative for A&P supermarkets and the Bell Telephone Company, according to the obituary.

The family moved around over the years for Roberts Sr.’s job at Bethlehem Steel Corp. and lived in New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Maryland. They later moved to Ohio and South Carolina for other business opportunities and for retirement.

Rosemary Roberts participated in local religious and charitable organizations and served as a hospital and library volunteer, the obituary said. She and her husband moved to Maryland in 2001 to be closer to their family.

Their son, John Roberts, was nominated in 2005 by President George W. Bush to be chief justice of the Supreme Court. He replaced the late William Rehnquist.

Rosemary Roberts is survived by four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her husband died in 2008 after a long illness.



Slovakia's Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a request by the country's prosecutor general to ban a far-right party that has 14 seats in the country's parliament.

In his request filed two years ago, Jaromir Ciznar said the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia is an extremist group whose activities violate the country's constitution and its goal is to destroy the country's democratic system.

But the court ruled the prosecutor general failed to provide enough evidence for the ban. The verdict is final.

"The ruling has clearly showed that our party is legitimate and democratic," party chairman Marian Kotleba said on Monday. He said it was "a political trial."

The prosecutor's office didn't immediately comment. Kotleba's supporters applauded in the court room while the opponents unveiled a banner in front of the court that read "Stop Fascism."

The party openly admires the Nazi puppet state that the country was during World War II. Party members use Nazi salutes, blame Roma for crime in deprived areas, consider NATO a terror group and want the country out of the alliance and the European Union.

If granted, it would have been the first ban on a parliamentary party.

There is a precedent, though. In 2006, the same court banned a predecessor of People's Party, the neo-Nazi Slovak Togetherness-National Party, also led by Kotleba.



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