Friday, January 6, 2012

'Yemen amnesty against intl. law'

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (file photo)

Source: Press TV

The United Nations human rights chief says any amnesty granted to those responsible for human rights abuses under Yemen's power transition deal would be a violation of international law.

"I have been closely following the events in Yemen, particularly the very contentious debate about an amnesty law to be presented to parliament shortly," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement issued on Friday.

The UNHCHR said anyone who had committed human rights violations during Yemen's mass protests must not be allowed to evade justice and should be prosecuted.

"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 rights," she added

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has censured Yemen's security forces for using live ammunition against unarmed protesters and has said that outgoing ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh should not get amnesty in a deal to persuade him to leave power.

In November, Saleh signed a deal in Riyadh, brokered by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), which granted him immunity from prosecution in return for stepping down from power after 33 years of iron-fisted rule in the impoverished state.

The United States, which regarded Saleh as a pillar of its "counter-terrorism" strategy for years, pushed the power transition deal through, while Saudi Arabia has supported Saleh by donating diesel and crude oil to the country.

Meanwhile, mass anti-regime demonstrations continue in the major cities, with protesters calling for the release of prisoners detained over the past year during the uprising.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more have been injured in Yemen since the beginning of the uprising against the Saleh regime in January 2011.

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