‘Constitution must not be sacrificed for political deals’
KABUL (PAN): The Transitional Justice Coordination Group on Sunday asked the world leaders meeting in Chicago that Afghanistan’s constitution, the most important achievement of the past decade, should in no way be sacrificed for political deals.
The group, which works to fulfill transitional justice and raise a voice for victims, suggested that separation and independence of the three pillars of the state, abolition of the Amnesty Law and other discriminatory statutes be ensured.
It called for a transparent election in due course, granting full powers to poll commissions, the Independent Human Rights Commission and neutral observers, civil society and the international community to fully investigate irregularities.
A statement from the group proposed a public debate on transitional justice and rights of victims with the participation and cooperation of state institutions --- the executive, parliament and the judiciary --- in collaboration with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, civil society and victims.
The group urged preparing and implementing transitional justice mechanisms, and complementary measures, --- truth commissions, redress for victims, building memorial monuments, and reviving and implementing "Action Plan for Peace and Reconciliation"; strengthening the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and guaranteeing its independence, releasing the commission's "mapping report"; inviting a special team of the United Nations to investigate crimes and human rights abuses of the Taliban and other armed groups as well as the international armed forces based on international law and obligations.
It further suggested implementing the UN security Council Resolution, ensuring active participation of women in all-day stages of the UN's peace negotiations, fighting administrative corruption, combating arms trafficking from abroad, establishing transparency and accountability, preparing and implementing a disarmament plan nationwide.
The group also called for a specific plan of action to investigate mistreatment and torture of detainees and prisoners by the security forces of Afghanistan and the international forces. The Taliban and other armed groups must not be permitted to impose their terms on the reconciliation process.
It said peace with the Taliban and other armed groups should not take place in a non-transparent and unfair process. “In consideration of the failure of the peace process in Afghanistan led by the High Council of Peace and in the absence of any clear and efficient strategy and in consideration of the presence of non-specialised persons accused of past atrocities, the High Council of Peace is incapable of preparing the ground for peace in Afghanistan.”
Therefore, it said, they proposed the dissolution of the council to prepare the ground for establishing more effective mechanisms and true peace through the participation of the people. The group urged the relevant UN Security Council committees to foster regional security and coordinate the fight against international terrorism in collaboration with international organisations and expert groups, set up appropriate institutions to implement efficient mechanisms to guarantee full respect for human rights.
It said a systematic action must be taken based on Geneva Conventions to prevent the killing of civilians. “The national and international military forces must establish a transparent reporting and follow-up system in regard to incidents causing harm to civilians.”
It said all those affected must be offered appropriate redress, including guarantees of non-repetition, uniform compensation to all victims, apologies, investigations, and other measures. NATO member states and donor countries must ensure that the transition process does not focus solely on the handover of security responsibilities, but also provides sustained and professional training for security sectors, the statement said.
Forces parallel to the National Armed Forces including the tribal militia forces must be demobilised and outlawed, it stressed.
The systematic withdrawal of international troops must be accompanied with strengthening of democratic institutions including the justice system and capacity-building within the Afghan National Security Forces, the statement said, adding governmental bodies, in particular the security forces, and elected institutions of Afghanistan must be purged from criminal perpetrators.
“The imprisoned members of the Taliban, who are accused of commission of crimes, must be released only after investigation and trial not as prerequisite for the peace process.”
It said the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court should pursue the case of Afghanistan and issue regular reports on the status of the country.
It said the Transitional Justice Coordination Group appreciated the ten-year achievements in government-building, civil and political rights, human rights, women's rights, education, reconstruction and other fields, but these trends had not yet taken root in the country and constituted initial steps on the path to a stable and affluent society in peace and Justice.
Violation of human rights and women's rights, corruption, poverty, failure to implement laws, discrimination, release of terrorists without bringing them to trial, and unconditional negotiations with them and other armed opposition groups in the absence of concrete mechanisms are serious concerns of the people.
“All those problems and injustices are rooted in the inefficiency and inability of the government as well as the strategic mistakes of the international community in fulfilling justice in Afghanistan.”
To protect the achievements and to reduce human rights abuses, the group said the government’s and the international community’s commitment as well as their concrete and specific strategy for achieving peace and justice were essential.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.