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UN human rights chief wary of Afghan war crimes amnesty

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile; JURIST profile] on Friday criticized [press release] the amnesty resolution [JURIST report] adopted by the lower house of the Afghan parliament Thursday. The resolution, part of a national reconciliation effort, extends official pardons to warlords and alleged war criminals. It stands in stark contrast to the Action Plan on Peace, Reconciliation and Justice [text] announced by Afghan president Hamid Karzai [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in December, which provides no amnesty for such criminals and calls for an end to the country's "culture of impunity."

Arbour expressed concern over the measure, saying that national reconciliation must uphold legal and international human rights standards in order to be effective:

The engagement of Parliament in the national reconciliation process is crucial. At the same time, however,those responsible for serious human rights violations must be brought to justice. This is vital both for this and future generations. Experience has shown time and again that effective and durable national reconciliation must be based on respect for international human rights standards and the rule of law, and must not come at their expense
AP has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.

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