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Legal news from Sunday, June 21, 2009




Greenland takes over courts, police under new self-rule deal with Denmark
Ximena Marinero on June 21, 2009 9:53 AM ET

[JURIST] Greenlanders Sunday celebrated [press release] their national day with the establishment of a self-rule arrangement that increases the island's autonomy from Denmark. Under the Greenland Self Government Act [draft text, PDF] presented by Denmark's Queen Margrethe [official website] to Greenland's new socialist Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist [official profile], Greenland [government website] now controls its own law enforcement and domestic courts and will receive a higher percentage of its mineral resource revenue. The new official language is Kalaallisut or Greenlandic. The territory is still part of the Danish kingdom, and remains subject to the Danish constitution [text]. The Danish Supreme Court [official website] is still the highest court for Greenland, and Denmark will also continue to have final say over Greenland security and foreign policy.

In November 2008, 72 percent of the Greenland electorate voted for increased autonomy [JURIST report] from Denmark in a national referendum. The Arctic island gained basic home-rule in 1979 under the Greenland Home Rule Act [text]. Greenland has been a Danish colony for 300 years, since its recolonization in the 1700s. Approximately 88 percent of Greenlanders are Inuit or of mixed Danish-Inuit descent. Earlier Norse settlements established on the island from the 9th century failed in the 14th and 15th centuries due to harsh climatic conditions.






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Portugal agrees to take up to 3 Guantanamo detainees
Ximena Marinero on June 21, 2009 9:12 AM ET

[JURIST] Portugal will accept two or three Guantanamo detainees [JURIST news archive] already cleared for release, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado [official profile] said [audio, in Portuguese] in an interview Saturday. Amado indicated that the Portuguese Ministry of Internal Affairs [official website] would have to determine the legal framework for receiving the detainees. The agreement resulted from a meeting on Friday between Amado and US Ambassador Daniel Fried [profile], the special envoy designated [press release] in March by the Obama administration to seek foreign government assistance in closing down the Guantanamo prison. In December Luis sent a letter [JURIST report] to EU foreign ministers urging EU members to take in any detainees released from the facility.

Last week the Council of the European Union [official website] and the US jointly released a statement [text, DOC; JURIST report] outlining the terms of agreement for EU countries planning to accept Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees, but the agreement leaves the final decision to accept detainees to each individual country. Also last week, the Italian government agreed [press conference transcript] to take in three specific Guantanamo detainees, while the Spanish government agreed to consider [JURIST news report] taking in four detainees as long as they pass security clearance and they are willing to be transferred.






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