Authorities set to investigate abuses during Yemen uprisings
Yemeni authorities are to investigate alleged human rights violations that occurred during the uprising in 2011 - potentially paving the way for the prosecution of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saleh and his immediate family obtained immunity from prosecution under Yemeni law through a deal last year in return for the veteran president’s departure from office. He stepped down in February. Thousands of protesters have demanded that the immunity be scrapped.
The cabinet decision to set up a committee of inquiry followed months of wrangling within the government.
State news agency Saba said: “The committee is responsible for probing the allegations of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that occurred in 2011, impartially and independently.”
A government official said the decision emerged from an intense, five-month-long debate in the cabinet, which is divided between members of Saleh’s party and his opponents, as stipulated by the power transfer deal.
“It was a fight in the cabinet,” he said, adding that the outcome was partly due to a “big push” by the United Nations envoy to Yemen, Jamal bin Omar.
The official said the inquiry would investigate whether criminal charges over deaths and injuries could be pressed. It would be complemented by a transitional justice law that Saleh’s successor, Abd-Rabbu Hadi, is expected to issue a decree setting up the inquiry this month, the official added.
Saleh is still in Yemen and one of his sons commands the republican guard.
More than 2,000 people are thought to have died during the protracted upheaval, some from sniper fire.