Afghan parliament speaker defends amnesty bill

The speaker of the lower house of Afghanistan‘s parliament defended his country’s newly passed amnesty bill on Monday, saying it was misinterpreted in the West.

“Unfortunately certain elements have embarked on propaganda against it,” Mohammad Yunus Qanooni told reporters after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the NATO headquarters.

It is not true that war criminals are going to be acquitted under the law, he said.

“Those people who have been involved in international war crimes are not going to be ignored,” he clarified. Individuals can file lawsuits against whatever crimes they think have been done to them, he added.

The Afghan parliament’s lower house, or Wolesi Jirga, passed an amended bill on Saturday that would give amnesty to groups involved in war crimes during more than two decades of war in the country.

The legislation triggered concerns of human rights groups that war crimes might not be reckoned with.

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