Immunity Law called into question

Published on 5 January 2012 in News
Sadeq Al-Wesabi (author)

Sadeq Al-Wesabi


SANA'A, Jan. 4— The national unity government approved a controversial 'immunity bill' on Tuesday. The bill is intended to grant immunity from prosecution to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh and members of his inner circle.


The government will submit the bill to parliament for passage next week.


Saleh has reversed a decision to travel to the United States for treatment after statements were made by representatives of various human rights organizations that such a law will not in fact guarantee immunity from prosecution.


Deputy Minister of Information Abdu Al-Janadi confirmed the President’s decision on Wednesday.


Human Rights Watch stated that international law rejects impunity for serious offenses such as crimes against humanity and torture.


Joe Stork, Deputy Middle East Director for Human Rights Watch, said that "President Saleh and those who implemented his orders, take note:  no immunity deal will absolve responsibility for widespread, unlawful killings."


Parliament’s opposition Joint Meeting Parties bloc opposes the immunity bill and instead insists on enacting a 'reconciliation law'.


For its part, the ruling General People’s Congress bloc rejects the notion of a reconciliation law, considering it an attempt to cover up the crime that resulted in the explosion last June at Al-Nahdain Mosque, leaving the President seriously injured.


On Wednesday, The Specialized Criminal Court proceeded with an investigation of the explosion at Al-Nahdain Mosque.


Khaled Al-Ansi, a prominent lawyer in Sana’a, played down the importance of the immunity law and denounced the national unity government as a partner of Saleh’s regime.