Saleh amnesty illegal, says UN Human Rights
SANA’A, Jan. 8 – The United Nation Human Rights chief declared on Friday that giving Saleh amnesty is a violation to Yemen’s international Human Rights obligation.
Ahead of a scheduled amnesty vote by Yemen’s parliament this week, Navi Pillay, UNHR chief, also said that anyone who has committed crimes during the long-running anti-government protests should face justice.
«International law and the UN policy are clear on the matter: amnesties are not permissible if they prevent the prosecution of individuals who may be criminally responsible for international crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and gross violations of human right,» said Pillay.
Following approval of the amnesty law by the National Unity Government last Wednesday, which was then sent to parliament for voting, protesters took to the streets across the country demanding prosecution and condemning any immunity.
Another reason that the UNHR has rejected the amnesty is the fact that violence continued in Yemen after the deal was agreed.
«Based on information we have gathered, there is reason to believe that some of these crimes were committed in Yemen during the period for which an amnesty is under consideration,» said Pillay, without naming any potential suspects.
“Such an amnesty would be in violation of Yemen’s international human rights obligations,” she added.
Abdalwahab Al-Ansi, a leading figure of the Islah party told the Yemen Times that the amnesty as it was suggested in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal, signed on Nov. 23, 2011, is not helpful for Saleh or his regime.
The deal stated that Saleh – and those who worked with him – would be guaranteed amnesty by parliament. But what if the victims’ families want to take Saleh to trial in the future, how can the parliamentarians prevent them? he asked.
Al-Ansi said that a talk on an alternative idea for the amnesty law is going on between the different parties and international mediators.
“We are thinking about a National Reconcilement project such as the Moroccan and the South African experiences,” he explained, “in which everyone lets go of the past and we have a new beginning for the country.” He added that any events prior to a National Reconcilement should be forgotten in a way that blesses both Saleh and the victims of the revolution.
UN envoy Jamal Benomar is to present this project, called the Justice Transitional, according to Al-Ansi.
Meanwhile, conflicts between acting president Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi and honorary president Ali Abdullah Saleh disrupted implementation of the GCC deal.
Media reports claimed that Hadi threatened to leave Sana’a if Saleh did not stop interfering.
Cracks have also begun to show in the General People’s Congress – the ruling party before the power sharing deal agreed in November. This follows the exodus of more than 60 members who quit last March to join the revolution.
Senan Al-Aji, an MP and a leading figure in the GPC, agreed that there had been disagreements between GPC members at recent meetings but denied a split in the party.