Afghanistan: Draft Law Grants Immunity to Warlords If approved by the Meshrano Jirga, or Afghan Senate, the bill would exempt the warlords from any kind of reprimand for their previous acts, like violations of human rights and other war crimes.
| Outspoken female MP, Malalai Joya, was among the handful of Members of the Afghan Wolesi Jirga or Lower House, who voiced concern over the passage of a controversial bill supporting immunity for former warlords, mujahideen commanders and communist-era leaders.|
The 249-member Lower House introduced the bill on Wednesday in the wake of rising criticism from human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), demanding punishment for those complicit in war crimes after the expulsion of Soviet forces from this landlocked country, beginning in 1988.
The bill, introduced and forcefully supported by pro-jihadi MPs, asks the Afghan government not to accept any internal or foreign pressure for trials of those involved in the civil strife.
If approved by the Meshrano Jirga, or Afghan Senate, the bill would exempt the warlords, most of whom are now part of the Afghan government or sitting in either House of Parliament, from any kind of reprimand for their previous acts, like violations of human rights and other war crimes.
Malalai Joya, the outspoken female MP from Afghanistan's western Farah province, however, ruffled the House as she launched into a tirade against the former warlords and communist-era leaders.
The 28-year-old Joya was the first to speak out against these same warlords during the Constitutional Loya Jirga held in London in late 2003 as a constituent assembly for a future government in this insurgency-wracked country.
Joya said the proposed law would excuse the warlords of the crimes they had committed, which, she said, would be an injustice against the Afghan people, who are the ultimate sufferers and victims of the previous conflict and the existing insurgency and unrest.
She failed to be recognized, however, by House Speaker Yunus Qanuni, who himself is one of those appearing in the "war crimes" list of the HRW. Along with a few others, she staged a walk-out from the male-dominated Lower House.
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