Monday, 9 January 2012

Yemen: Saleh will continue to lead the GPC

President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been playing his usual games. One day he says he will leave Yemen for medical treatment. A few days later he says that he will stay, blaming the opposition for some real or imagined slight. The latest move was that he would remain head of the General People's Congress (GPC) and lead the campaign for Abd al-Rab Mansour Hadi 's election. He claims he needs to be in Yemen to help the transition arrangements and wants to get away from the attention on him and allow the national unity government to get on with its work.

There are difficulties over the question of immunity. The GPC will support the deal when it comes to parliament but the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) prefer a broader “reconciliation law” that would cover acts committed by some of Saleh's opponents. GPC leaders claim that Saleh's opponents were responsible for the attack on the Nahdain mosque on 3rd June and think the law is designed to prevent them from being prosecuted. The investigation into this is continuing but remains a potential time bomb.

Human rights groups point out that the immunity deal only applies in Yemen and that Saleh could face arrest if he travels abroad – and there are many who would attempt to bring action against him. This may have been the reason why the US administration seemed reluctant to allow Saleh to travel to the US for medical treatment, although it may also have wanted stronger assurances from Saleh that he would honour the transition deal. It may also be mindful of the protests that will come from the streets if Saleh not only receives treatment but also remain free while they are demanding his trial. Formally, the US did not respond to the request for a visa.

The Yemeni government will also have to take regard of a statement by Navi Pillay , the UN high commissioner for human rights: “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.”

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

© 2012 Menas Associates

No comments:

Post a Comment