Mali: Alger political negotiations must not entrench impunity

Press release
en fr

Paris, Bamako, Nairobi, 20 November 2014 – As the Malian Government resumes peace talks with armed groups in Alger, our organizations emphasize that it is imperative for the authorities to take into account victims’ needs for justice by not sacrificing the fight against impunity on the altar of political negotiations.

In a paper (in French) published today, our organizations make specific recommendations for peace to be negotiated on the basis of the recognition of victims’ needs for justice, and to guarantee a sustainable, fair and equitable solution.

“The political negotiations in Algiers are crucial for the future of the region. The parties can either commit themselves to ending impunity to guarantee a lasting peace, or they can decide to grant amnesties to themselves and see the cycle of violence start again” declared Drissa Traoré, FIDH Vice-President. “We call upon all parties to make a clear and strong commitment to rule out amnesty, to support justice and not to ask for the liberation of alleged perpetrators of serious crimes or protect them” he added.

Since 2012, several events have led to concerns about manipulation of the justice system for political purposes. First, there was the successive liberation of alleged perpetrators of serious human rights violations committed in the North of the country. Then, the discussions aiming at having all procedures opened before national justice authorities referred to a special unit on the fight against terrorism and transnational crimes, which could lead to the pursuit of terrorism charges only, disregarding charges related to human rights violations. Such a process favors impunity, which is one of the major causes of conflict in Northern Mali.

Malian authorities must either give the investigating judges currently in charge of opened proceedings adequate means to investigate the serious human rights violations perpetrated, or create a specialized unit on serious human rights violations, especially for the crimes perpetrated in the North.

In June 2014, FIDH and AMDH shared these recommendations with the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and Mali’s Justice Minister, Mohamed Bathily. These recommendations were also included in the roadmap adopted by the 230 participants of the International Seminar on Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation, held in Bamako on 6 and 7 November 2014. Further, on 12 November 2014, FIDH and AMDH filed a complaint with four other human rights organisations on behalf of 80 victims of sexual crimes, which are war crimes and crimes against humanity. FIDH and AMDH are plaintiffs in several legal proceedings in Mali and continue to assist victims of crimes perpetrated by armed groups in the North and the former junta in power.

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