Background Commission for Consolidation of Peace (kamisyun-e tahkim-e suh):
Art. 5 of the Afghan Constitution calls for the establishment of an extraordinary commission by the National Assembly in cooperation with the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace that is to “prepare the ground” for “ending the violence and distrust between the government and armed oppositions factions and to strengthen stability and national reconciliation”. The Commission for Consolidation of Peace (kamisyun-e tahkim-e suh) (art 5) is linked to the Amnesty Law and is now defunct.
The “Amnesty Law” (unofficial English translation)
source: Official Gazette, publishing date: 13 Qaus 1387 Serial No: (965)
National Reconciliation, General Amnesty, and National Stability Law
Whereas jihad, resistance and the rightful struggles of our people to defend the religion and country is the splendid achievement in the history of the country and are considered as our distinguished national glories, and whereas the realization of national reconciliation policy and ending of war and bloodshed, strengthening of national unity and building of trust among all segments of society is crucial in this juncture of time, therefore the following is approved to achieve the above:
This law is adopted for the purpose of strengthening the reconciliation and national stability, ensuring the supreme interests of the country, ending rivalries and building confidence among the belligerent parties, based on their immunity in case of adherence to the Constitution and other enforced laws of the country.
To strengthen peace, stability and ending the war, the National Parliament of Afghanistan calls on all armed groups in opposition to the government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to join the process of strengthening the stability and national reconciliation of Afghanistan and participate in strengthening the system and reconstruction of the country.
(1) All political factions and hostile parties who were involved in a way or another in hostilities before establishing of the Interim Administration shall be included in the reconciliation and general amnesty program for the purpose of reconciliation among different segments of society, strengthening of peace and stability and starting of new life in the contemporary political history of Afghanistan, and enjoy all their legal rights and shall not be legally and judicially prosecuted.
(2) Those individuals and groups who are still in opposition to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and cease enmity after the enforcement of this resolution and join the process of national reconciliation, and respect the Constitution and other laws and abide them shall enjoy the benefits of this resolution.
(3) The provisions set forth in clause (1) and (2) of this article shall not affect the claims of individuals against individuals based up on Haqullabd (rights of people) and criminal offences in respect of individual crimes.
(1) Those people who are under prosecution due to crimes against internal and external security of the country shall not enjoy the benefits of this law.
(2) Those people who are sentenced to crimes against internal and external security of the country shall be forgiven or their punishment mitigated by separate decrees, according to the situation and based on recommendations and guarantee of the Commission for Consolidation of Peace, in case of they commit, not to resume their activities against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
In order to help end the violence and distrust between the government and armed opposition factions, and to strengthening stability and national reconciliation, an extraordinary commission shall be appointed by the National Assembly to prepare the grounds for their joining the process of strengthening stability and national reconciliation, in cooperation with the Commission for Consolidation of Peace.
This law shall be enforce from the date of endorsement and published in the official gazette.
The Amnesty Law was, according to its introduction, adopted in order to end war and bloodshed, strengthen national unity and build trust among all segments of society. Measures that contribute to ending bloodshed and building trust would certainly be welcome in Afghanistan, but blanket amnesties are not the way to go.
The legality of the law can be challenged based on Afghanistan’s commitments under international treaty law and customary international law. Unfortunately legal arguments carry very little weight in Afghanistan.
The law can also be viewed in the light of the by now well established political strategy to promote peace before justice in Afghanistan – or rather to promote any stability at the expense of peace and justice. This seems to have been the preferred political strategy of the Afghan elites and its international partners for the past decade – but it is a strategy that has failed.
Consequently, the Amnesty Law is not only a breach of Afghanistan’s commitments under international law; it also turns a failed political strategy into law.