Friday, November 25, 2011

Yemen transition tainted by ‘immunity’ deal

"A power-transfer agreement reportedly granting Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and others immunity from prosecution in exchange for leaving office deals a serious blow to victims of human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

While only part of the agreement, which was signed yesterday, has been made public, it is widely believed to offer the President and some of those serving under him immunity from facing criminal investigations and prosecutions for a string of serious abuses. It is based on a deal originally brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and comes after negotiations facilitated by a UN envoy.

“Granting immunity as part of the transition agreement would deliver a hammer blow to accountability for human rights violations by blocking the investigation or prosecution of high-ranking officials,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Acting Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Immunity leads to impunity. It denies justice and deprives victims of the truth and full reparations.”

Under international law, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Yemen is obliged to investigate and, where there is sufficient admissible evidence, to prosecute anyone suspected of such crimes...."

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