Thursday, March 15, 2007

Afghan President Sends Back "Amnesty Bill"

How to put a country together after a civil war has to be one of the great dilemmas of any administration. Of course, in many cases no attempt is made to reconcile former opponents, assuage deep wounds, and resolve intense grudges. And in Afghanistan there has been no real attempt so far; the preoccupation has been essentially to bring about order. The solution in South Africa -- in which victims were allowed to confront those who had brutalized them and their loved ones -- was both painful (because it exposed much that had been hidden) and exemplary (because it allowed the brutalizers to confess and the victims, if so inclined, to forgive). We cannot envision such a process working in Afghanistan, nor can we picture the "warlords", many of whom have much innocent blood on their hands, giving up power. We pray that the Afghanistan peoples will be able to find a way to deal with the heart-wrenching issues they are faced with. That they even are addressing it in this superficial way can be considered -- in the Afghanistan context-- a reason for hope.

Afghan president sends back "amnesty bill"

"President Hamid Karzai has sent back to parliament a bill that would give amnesty for war crimes in Afghanistan's decades of brutal conflict..."
"Karzai has now returned the bill with proposed amendments, chiefly the addition of an article that 'safeguards the rights of individuals,' "
"Karzai consulted with a range of groups about the legislation, which raised concern among rights and civil protection groups who warned against allowing impunity."
"The country is still scarred by a brutal 1992 to 1996 civil war among factions led by commanders who are in parliament today. Up to 80,000people were killed in Kabul alone and there are allegations of widespread torture and rape.The draft bill passed by parliament says there should be no legal action against parties to the country's past conflicts, a move supporters argue will promote reconciliation."

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