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Amnesty and justice in Afghanistan: “a nose made of dough”

March 2, 2010

….The Afghan amnesty law refers to similar processes in other
post-conflict states, particularly the South African reconciliation
process which is considered to be a relatively successful programme.

In South Africa the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
(TRC) was a court-like body that was formed after the abolition of
apartheid. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human
rights violations were invited to give statements about their
experiences, and some were invited to public hearings. Perpetrators of
violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil
and criminal prosecution.

The condition of giving
amnesty to the perpetrators was their admission to the crimes they had
committed under political (and not personal) motivations. Rather than
retribution, the objective was to document and publicise the crimes and
atrocities that had occurred during apartheid. In addition, the
commission gave compensation to the victims in the name of restorative

The Afghan amnesty law, by contrast, makes
no mention of the suffering of Afghan people who were subjected to
frequent violations of their human rights during the past two and half
decades. Nor does it speak of any aspiration to see justice for those
who lost their beloveds in the atrocities perpetrated by different
Mujahedin groups as well as the Taliban and other regimes. Instead it
asks these victims to look upon the Mujahedin as their national heroes
and to never question their deeds.

Read the whole article.


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