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Court Watch

and 3(d) regarding breaches of attorney-client confidentiality and the trial court’s unfair taking and examination of evidence .

The ECtHR’s findings reveal that the Russian judicial system can be arbitrary and capricious. Khodorkovsky’s arrest and trial raised concerns over “the arbitrary use of the judicial system” and was likely to be damaging to foreign invest- ment in Russia, as it appeared there were “se- lective prosecutions occurring against Yukos of- ficials, but not against others.”

* Submitted by Steven Wu

Mali Court Confirms Ex-Prime Minister Keïta’s Election

On August 7, 2013, the Mali Constitutional Court (the Court) ruled that Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta won the majority of the July 28 presidential votes and would go on to face former finance minister Soumaïla Cissé in a run-off election. The Court announced that Keïta had won the election by 39 percent of the votes and Cissé had received 19 percent of the votes. Since neither candidate received an outright majority, a run-off election was held on August 11. Cissé conceded two days later, and Keïta won the run-off election.

Keïta is a former prime minister and lawmaker known for his pro-French politics. He had the support of other candidates, as well as influential Muslim leaders in Mali, where 90 percent of the population is Muslim. During his campaign, Keïta promised reconciliation and dialogue amongst all areas and groups in the country.

Once Keïta names the government officials to serve with him, he will have only two months to resume talks with the Tuareg separatist group in the north, pursuant to Tuareg’s conditions in let- ting nationwide elections proceed in the country. The Tuareg currently control Kidal, the only town where they have a majority support.

Cissé and other candidates accused Keïta of election fraud, given that 400,000 of the ballots were declared invalid in the first round. Cissé’s campaign manager stated that the transitional government was partisan, favoring Keïta. None- theless, the Court rejected these claims and or- dered a run-off election. The Court is one of the three high courts in Mali. The Court has authority over cases disputing the validity of an election by any candidate, political party, or representative of the government. The Court is comprised of nine members, elected by the President and the Na- tional Assembly. The European Union’s Election Observation Mission (the Mission) stated that the voting complied with international standards in 99 percent of the polling stations. Despite the heavy downpour in the capital on Election Day, the Mission estimated a 45 percent turnout, which was considerably higher than in previous elections.

This election was the first since 2007 and was crucial for unlocking the $4 billion USD of inter- national aid from the European Commission and international states. Foreign donors had stopped contributions after last year’s military coup, when army officers overthrew Amadou Toumani Touré’s democratically elected government on March 22, 2012. Officers were angry over the amount of support received to fight the Tuareg rebellion in the north. This led to the Tuareg taking control of a large area in the north before being expelled by Al-Qaeda in the Sahara, who imposed strict Islamic codes on the local population.

The turmoil was followed by the French military’s intervention against Islamists fighters. The last of these forces continue to leave the country by the end of this year. About 12,000 peacekeep- ers from the United Nations Peacekeeping Op- erations are currently deployed to Mali. Despite the democratic election, Keita who is known as the “man of his word” faces many challenges to fulfill his pre-election promises.

* Submitted by Saiena Shafiezadeh ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 1 » October 2013 . 13

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