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Transitional justice law last resort for ending Yemen’s conflict

March 15, 2012

The wording of the draft law dictates that it will promote a non-judiciary reconciliation, or what is known as restorative justice, where the truth is revealed for the national history while victims are compensated.

The practical mechanism to ensure no future violations take place is through creating an independent national human rights authority, according to international standards and the Paris Principles of Human Rights.

This authority will be responsible for receiving new complaints and will investigate grievances and violations of human rights. It will work not only as a defender of human rights, but will also educate and spread awareness of human rights. It will also issue periodic reports on the situation of human rights in Yemen.

….A temporary four-year commission will be formed in May 2012 to consider human rights violations from between 1994 until the date of the approval of the transitional justice law.

This commission will be called the Justice and National Reconciliation commission, and be due to commence operations in June 2012. It will comprise of nine members. Those members will be men and women who have never worked in the police, security, army or any other military institutions. At least three of those members will not be connected to any political party that signed the Gulf Initiative (the GPC and JMP).

The body will have the right to hire any local or international experts or staff as seen fit to execute its mandate.

The body’s work is three fold: to investigate grievances, providing a venue for listening to human rights violations, and to educate the public about human rights. Under the transitional justice law, victims, witnesses and complainants will all be protected by state institutions.

Compensation for victims will include medical treatment both locally and abroad, rehabilitation of the injured, compensation or repossession where possible for wrongly claimed or stolen assets, and reinstating those who were wrongly dismissed from their jobs since 1994 with retrograde financial compensation.

The committee will be involved in compensating the families of deceased victims. This will include sponsoring the education of children of the victims.

The money for compensation will come from the government, which hopes to obtain financial support from donors, according to the minister.

“In order to preserve the national history of the events, there will be documentation as well as some memorials and landmarks to remember the victims in more than one place. Also we will dedicate a date for tolerance and reconciliation,” said the minister.

Although there are no legal consequences for the perpetrators of past human rights violations, the “name and shame” aspect of the law will be a strong deterrent to anyone who may wish to indulge in such violations in the future.

Although the body is a non-judiciary entity, it has the right to summon all sides of the conflict and demand disclosure of evidence, documents or any materials or facts that would assist in revealing the truth. It also has the authority to inspect residences or places where crimes have taken place and to seize tools or documents used in those crimes.

Because of its high level endorsement by the president himself, the reconciliation commission has been given full cooperation from all state and non-state actors, including the military and security apparatus.

“It [the commission] has the right to summon for questioning anyone, no matter how high his or her rank is,” emphasized the minister.

Read the whole article.


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