After a two-year legal battle, a New York Supreme Court Justice has ruled that two chimpanzees should be covered under habeas corpus which, at least in the eyes of the law, makes them legal "people." 

Habeas corpus lets humans challenge the validity of their detention and, in this case, the Nonhuman Rights Project has been arguing that the two chimps, Hercules and Leo, are being unlawfully held at a Stoney Brook University research facility. The animal rights organization wants to see the great apes moved to a sanctuary and have been denied in three lower court rulings. 

Stoney Brook University will be given the chance to make their case for keeping the animals on May 6th. 

The Nonhuman Rights Project says that regardless of the outcome of this case, they will use the ruling to pursue future cases.

"We have scientific evidence to prove in a court of law that elephants, great apes, and whales and dolphins are autonomous beings and deserve the right to bodily liberty," Natalie Prosin, the Nonhuman Rights Project's executive director has said. "[This ruling] strengthens our argument that these nonhuman animals are not property."