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No amnesty for war-criminals, says UN’s Navi Pillay

[TamilNet, Sunday, 8 January 2012 10:21 No Comment]

Granting amnesty to perpetrators of war crimes and human rights abuses under Yemen’s presidential power transition deal would be against international law, the United Nations human rights chief said on Friday, undermining the peace agreement, Reuters reported. The implications of this to pending litigation of sitting and ex-Presidents in courts around the world are significant according to legal sources in Washington.

Noting that Pillay has previously blamed Yemeni government forces for using live ammunition against unarmed protesters and has said President Ali Abdullah Saleh should not get amnesty in a deal to persuade him to leave power, Reuters summarized Navi Pillay’s statement as follows:

"I have been closely following the events in Yemen, particularly the very contentious debate about an amnesty law to be presented to Parliament shortly,"

"International law and the U.N. 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 rights."

"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. Such an amnesty would be in violation of Yemen’s international human rights obligations,"

Saudi Arabia has supported Saleh by donating diesel and crude oil and the United States, which long backed Saleh as a pillar of its "counter-terrorism" strategy, helped craft the power transition deal giving him immunity from prosecution, Reuters report said.

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