Yemeni officials on Thursday amended a law that would have given complete immunity to President Ali Abdullah Saleh [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive] and all of his associates, limiting it to politically motivated crimes for Saleh's aides. The original draft [text, in Arabic] of the law, which gave full immunity to Saleh and all civil, military and security agents who worked under him, was passed by the Council of Ministers [JURIST report] almost two weeks ago. Under the amended law, Saleh would maintain complete immunity for crimes committed during his regime, but his associates would only have limited immunity. Discussion of the amended law in Yemen's parliament is scheduled for Saturday.
Voting on the original bill was postponed for the third time [Yemen Times report] Wednesday. One of the reasons for the delays was opposition to the clause granting blanket immunity for government officials who worked under Saleh. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay opposes immunity [JURIST report] for Saleh and his officials, saying the victims deserve justice and will not get it if the law is passed. Pillay advocated for an investigation [JURIST report] of Saleh and his administration in early December for alleged human rights violations. Saleh agreed to step down [JURIST report from his office in April amidst pressure from protesters, and the immunity law was a condition of his promise.