Yemen: impunity is not an option for human rights violations

9 Jan, 2012 | Press Releases

Following the terms of a Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered deal, the Yemeni interim government has approved the draft of a law that would give President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution in exchange of his agreement to stand down ahead of elections scheduled for 21 February 2012. The law, if approved by the Parliament in its current form, would also give immunity against legal and judicial prosecution to government, civil and military officials who served under President Saleh’s 33-year rule.

A fact-finding mission to Yemen by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in July found evidence of serious crimes under international law allegedly committed by Yemeni security forces and armed Saleh supporters in attempting to quell mostly peaceful pro-reform protests in Sana’a and elsewhere.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) call upon the Yemeni Parliament to stand up for justice and to secure effective accountability for human rights violations allegedly committed over the past 10 months, regardless of the rank or affiliation of those responsible, amending in line with Yemen’s international human rights obligations the bill currently proposed by the interim government.

“Granting legal and judicial immunity to President Saleh and all other alleged perpetrators of serious crimes under international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, during would deny justice to victims and violate Yemen’s international human rights obligations.

“We urge that all parties strive for a political solution and a genuine process of reforms that would give life to the principles and values for which local human rights and democracy advocates have fought for during the last months’ anti-government protests. To succeed and to be a catalyst for positive change, this process should answer the demand for political rights expressed by the Yemeni people, address past violations and prevent the recurrence of future human rights violations”.

For further information, please contact Alison Smith, phone +32 2 548 39 12, email or Nicola Giovannini, phone +32-2-548-3915, email