By NY Staff
At the opening of a training course on the concepts of transitional justice, Legal Affairs Minister Dr. Mohamed Al-Mekhlafi stated that religious groups had threatened to kill him if the transitional justice act was approved. “They threaten to react to the formation of the reconciliation and equity commission with terrorist operations and murder,” he said.
Al-Mekhlafi accused two factions of trying to hinder work on the transitional justice process and said that they have “illogical dreams that change won’t reach its destination and that things will turn backwards.” According to Al-Mekhlafi, these two sides are those who received immunity from prosecution and those who wish to have immunity while others are left to go without it.
“Both sides are mistaken, because the transitional justice project does not depend on injustice – all Yemenis should have justice and have their rights returned,” he added.
He also accused a number of human rights organizations which supported the revolution of believing that Yemen needs peace and that it can only be achieved through forgiving certain figures who committed human rights violations, but not others.
“We refuse such discrimination and such organizations should understand that the purpose of the political settlement was to save Yemen,” he noted. He added that the desired amnesty should be inclusive and that it would only be completed if victims received justice and further violations were prevented from reoccurring.
According to Al-Mekhlafi, the transitional justice project was hindered when the Council of Ministers failed to reach a final decision. He added that the project will now be submitted to President Hadi and Prime Minister Basindowa for review and so they may make a decision regarding it. “If they don’t make the decision together, it will be made by President Hadi alone,” he added.
In calling on Hadi to work towards achieving justice in Yemen to restore peace and stability, Al-Mekhlafi noted that both Hadi and Basindowa are supposed to have already apologized to those who suffered human rights violations. He noted that procedures to achieve desired justice would be proposed during the national dialogue and that suggestions will be offered to ensure that such violations will not reoccur in the future.
Al-Mekhlafi noted that the Reconciliation Commission will be independent and will represent related NGOs, syndicates, involved religious organizations and parties and that membersof the commission will be indirectly selected by the legislative council. In his speech, Al-Mekhlafi noted that the transitional justice act is completely different from anything currently in place in the sense that will seek amnesty and justice, and furthermore that it aims first and foremost to grant justice to victims.
At the end of his speech, he noted that the transitional justice project is part of the political process that was agreed upon by various national and international political forces and that is in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative. “Any breach of the agreement threatens to drag Yemen towards war and other problems,” he concluded.
According to Al-Mekhlafi, the project was founded on four basic elements: revealing truth, listening to eyewitnesses of human rights violations, investigating facts, and providing compensation to victims – whether individuals or families – that suffered damages during clashes.
“We will also focus on giving back seized properties, whether public or private, on specifying a national day for victims and on building a monument for them,” he said.
For his part, Abd-Alelah Salam, executive manager of the Future Partners Institution Abd-Alelah, stressed the importance of applying transitional justice concepts and mechanisms during the coming period so that Yemen may avoid falling victim to revenge-related problems in the future.