Monday, March 12, 2007

Afghanistan: War crime immunity for Taliban + Warlords

KABUL, 11 March (IRIN) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday signed a controversial bill which provides sweeping amnesty for war crimes committed over more than two decades of conflict in Afghanistan.
Afghan legislators who have been opposing the bill criticised the move.

"We are deeply concerned over the contents of this undemocratic document," said Shukria Barakzai, an MP and democracy activist whose parliamentary group opposes the amnesty law. Mir Ahmad Joyenda, another lawmaker, told IRIN that those "MPs opposing the immunity law were explicitly threatened by powerful warlords in the national assembly". Noor Akbari, a former Afghan diplomat, said the enacted law contradicts the country's constitution and will violate some of the international human rights treaties to which Afghanistan is a signatory.

The lower house of the Afghan parliament – dominated by scores of former militia leaders - initiated the war crime immunity bill. The document was then approved by the upper house of the legislature and was sent to the President for approval. Karzai had initially vowed that he would not grant blanket immunity to war criminals. However, the President was pressured by many former Mujahideen leaders - who have strong influence in Afghanistan's post-Taliban government – to meet their demands. On Saturday, Karzai returned his amended version of the proposed bill which was swiftly adopted by the lower house – turning it into law.
"All parties involved in the pre-2002 conflicts are granted legal and judicial immunity," the bill reads.

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The Taliban as well as warlords who have been accused of grave human rights violations are exempt from prosecution for crimes committed before the establishment of the December 2001 Interim Administration in Afghanistan. The bill – now law – could even provide legal privileges for post-2002 insurgents as well. (Source:
Reuters)

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Attention turns to CIA in Foggo case by William Finn Bennett, North County Times, March 11. "The recent indictment of the CIA's No. 3 man, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, for alleged acts of corruption has a CIA watchdog calling for tighter supervision of employees and contracts within the intelligence agency."
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FBI Press Conference with Director Mueller on IG Report on the Use of National Security Letters, March 9. "The report identifies serious deficiencies in our tracking and internal controls with regard to the use of this tool."
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FBI Response to Inspector General Report on National Security Letters, March 9. "The Inspector General conducted a fair and objective review of the FBI’s use of a proven and useful investigative tool," said Director Robert S. Mueller, III, "and his finding of deficiencies in our processes is unacceptable."
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Lawsuit: CIA censored whistleblower, United Press International, March 8. "A new lawsuit alleges the CIA blocked a former employee from releasing information about the relationship of the CIA with a suspect foreign national."

+ Bush blames Iraq Weapons on 'part of' Iranian government
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U.S. Says Arms Link Iranians to Iraqi Shiites
+ Iran’s Influence in Iraq
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Somalia: Dont Forget about the Missiles

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