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Caribbean Leaders Usher in Regional Court

Regional leaders in the Caribbean have launched a new regional court that supporters say is a major step toward complete independence from Britain.

A ceremony was held Saturday in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where the Caribbean Court of Justice will be based. The regional court will hear civil and criminal appeals, along with trade disputes stemming from the Caribbean Community's planned single-market economy.

Much of the English-speaking Caribbean has been under the jurisdiction of Britain's Privy Council for more than 170 years. The Privy Council has overturned death sentences in many Caribbean nations, and human rights activists are concerned the new regional court will make it easier for those nations to impose the death penalty.

At least 11 Caribbean nations have agreed to participate in the new regional court.

Some information for this report provided by AP.