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Myanmar's government on Friday rejected an International Criminal Court ruling that it has jurisdiction to investigate allegations that Myanmar security forces violated international law by driving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from their homes.

The office of Myanmar President Win Myint said Thursday's decision by The Hague-based court was "the result of faulty procedure and is of dubious legal merit."

It reiterated the government's previously stated position that it has no obligation to respect the court's ruling because it is not a party to the treaty that established the institution. It also listed points of law and evidentiary arguments in rejecting approval for the court to make a preliminary investigation.

A special U.N. commission on Monday recommended prosecuting senior Myanmar military officers for suspected genocide.

Because Myanmar is not a member of the international court, some legal experts had contended the court did not have jurisdiction.

But the argument that prevailed, made by court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, was that while the Rohingya were forced from their homes in Myanmar, part of the crime involved them being driven across the border into neighboring Bangladesh, which is a member of the court.



Senators began the fourth and final day of hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Friday, but with the nominee finished answering questions the day they seemed unlikely to alter his path to confirmation.

Senate Democrats worked into the night Thursday in a last, ferocious attempt to paint Kavanaugh as a foe of abortion rights and a likely defender of President Donald Trump. But after two marathon days in the witness chair in a Senate hearing room, Kavanaugh appeared on his way to becoming the court's 114th justice.

The 53-year-old appellate judge stuck to a well-rehearsed script throughout his testimony, providing only glimpses of his judicial stances while avoiding any serious mistakes that might jeopardize his confirmation. In what almost seemed like a celebration Thursday, Kavanaugh's two daughters returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room for the final hours of testimony, accompanied by teammates on Catholic school basketball teams their father has coached.

On the schedule Friday are more than two dozen witnesses on both sides of the nomination fight. Democratic witnesses include John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House counsel who cooperated with prosecutors during the Watergate investigation, and Rochelle Garza, the legal guardian for a pregnant immigrant teenager whose quest for an abortion Kavanaugh would have delayed last year.

On the Republican side, former solicitors general Theodore Olson and Paul Clement will testify in support of the nominee, along with former students, law clerks and the mother of a basketball player Kavanaugh coached.


India's Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a landmark victory for gay rights that one judge said would "pave the way for a better future."

The 1861 law, a relic of Victorian England that hung on long after the end of British colonialism, was a weapon used to discriminate against India's gay community, the judges ruled in a unanimous decision.

"Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality," Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, reading the verdict. "Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual."

As the news spread, the streets outside the courthouse erupted in cheers as opponents of the law danced and waved flags.

"We feel as equal citizens now," said activist Shashi Bhushan. "What happens in our bedroom is left to us."

In its ruling, the court said sexual orientation was a "biological phenomenon" and that discrimination on that basis violated fundamental rights.

"We cannot change history but can pave a way for a better future," said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

The law known as Section 377 held that intercourse between members of the same sex was against the order of nature. The five petitioners who challenged the law said it was discriminatory and led to gays living in fear of harassment and persecution.

Jessica Stern, the executive director of the New York-based rights group OutRight Action International, said the original law had reverberated far beyond India, including in countries where gay people still struggle for acceptance.

"The sodomy law that became the model everywhere, from Uganda to Singapore to the U.K. itself, premiered in India, becoming the confusing and dehumanizing standard replicated around the world," she said in a statement, saying "today's historic outcome will reverberate across India and the world."

The court's ruling struck down the law's sections on consensual gay sex, but let stand segments that deal with such issues as bestiality.


President Donald Trump is taking the Washington debate over his Supreme Court nominee to the homes of two red-state Senate Democrats this week, elevating Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation as a political litmus test for voters.

Trump's strategy aims to turn the screws on the lawmakers, Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who find themselves caught between Senate leaders and progressive donors who are fighting Kavanaugh's confirmation, and their states' more conservative electorate, which is more broadly supportive of Trump's pick.

Neither senator has laid down a clear marker on how he or she will vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, which Senate Republican leaders hope to bring to a vote before the full chamber later this month — just weeks before the general election.

Trump is holding a rally in Billings, Montana, on Thursday night, and then attending fundraisers in Fargo, North Dakota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Friday.

White House officials contend the Supreme Court was a powerful motivator for Republican base voters in 2016, when Trump won the White House, and they're seeking to capitalize on Kavanaugh's confirmation to help overcome an enthusiasm gap with Democrats. Likewise, a vote for Kavanaugh by either Tester or Heitkamp could frustrate their Democratic base eager for a more confrontational approach to the Trump administration.

"It's a real pickle," said GOP strategist Josh Holmes.

"There is no question that all of these red-state Democrats would prefer to have an extremely quiet experience when it comes to the consideration of Kavanaugh," he said. "They don't want to upset leadership and the liberal base that's funding their campaigns, but the voters who control their fate are overwhelmingly in favor of Kavanaugh."

Democrats question whether the Kavanaugh vote will resonate in the race to unseat Tester, the Big Sandy farmer who has emphasized his independence and willingness to cross the partisan aisle to work with the president, who carried Montana by 20 percentage points two years ago.

"It's not like you're standing in the grocery store line and people are talking about the Kavanaugh confirmation. It's pretty inside baseball for folks," said Barrett Kaiser, a Montana-based Democratic strategist who advised former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Kaiser said Tester had demonstrated a "proven bipartisan record of working with this administration when it helps Montana and oppose them when it doesn't."

Republicans last year assailed Tester for his vote against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Tester said Gorsuch would "stand between women and her health care" and not protect personal privacy.


A Philippine senator who has taken refuge in the Senate to avoid an arrest order by President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to declare the order illegal and called on the military to defy it.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte's fiercest critic in Congress, told the high court in a petition that Duterte's proclamation voiding his 2011 amnesty for links to failed coup attempts and ordering his arrest was baseless.

"Their basis for this proclamation is a big lie," Trillanes told reporters in the Senate building, where he has remained since Duterte's order was made public Tuesday. "It's bogus, they only wanted to pin me down for being a critic of Mr. Duterte."

Known for his temper and outbursts against critics, Duterte has openly expressed anger against Trillanes, who has accused him of large-scale corruption and involvement in illegal drugs. Duterte has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The standoff has unfolded while Duterte is on a visit to Israel and Jordan. He is scheduled to fly home on Sunday.

The Department of Justice said Duterte voided Trillanes's amnesty because the senator did not file a formal amnesty application and admit guilt for his role in past coup attempts.


Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh declared fervently at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday the court "must never, never be viewed as a partisan institution." But that was at the end of a marathon day marked by rancorous exchanges between Democrats and Republicans, including dire Democratic fears that he would be President Donald Trump's advocate on the high court.

The week of hearings on Kavanaugh's nomination began with a sense of inevitability that the 53-year-old appellate judge eventually will be confirmed, perhaps in time for the first day of the new term, Oct. 1, and little more than a month before congressional elections.

However, the first of at least four days of hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee began with partisan quarreling over the nomination and persistent protests from members of the audience, followed by their arrests.

Strong Democratic opposition to Trump's nominee reflects the political stakes for both parties in advance of the November elections, Robert Mueller's investigation of Trump's 2016 campaign and the potentially pivotal role Kavanaugh could play in moving the court to the right.

Democrats, including several senators poised for 2020 presidential bids, tried to block the proceedings in a dispute over Kavanaugh records withheld by the White House. Republicans in turn accused the Democrats of turning the hearing into a circus.

Trump jumped into the fray late in the day, saying on Twitter that Democrats were "looking to inflict pain and embarrassment" on Kavanaugh.

The president's comment followed the statements of Democratic senators who warned that Trump was, in the words of Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, "selecting a justice on the Supreme Court who potentially will cast a decisive vote in his own case."

In Kavanaugh's own statement at the end of more than seven hours of arguing, the federal appeals judge spoke repeatedly about the importance of an independent judiciary and the need to keep the court above partisan politics, common refrains among Supreme Court nominees that had added salience in the fraught political atmosphere of the moment.


The Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld a life prison term for a man convicted of severely beating another man at a convenience store five years ago after telling the victim he was in the “wrong neighborhood.”

Donald Ray Dickerson, of Baton Rouge, was found guilty in 2015 of second-degree battery in the attack on David Ray III, of St. Francisville. Ray was hospitalized with a broken eye socket, broken nose and other injuries.

Dickerson was sentenced to life behind bars, deemed a habitual offender. The Advocate reports he has prior convictions for armed robbery, simple robbery and purse snatching.

Dickerson claims his conduct did not amount to second-degree battery and his sentence is unconstitutionally excessive. An appeals court disagreed, and the Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday let that ruling stand.

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