Yemen to hold off on commission of inquiry

Feb. 10, 2014 at 10:11 AM

SANAA, Yemen, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi said he would delay opening a commission of inquiry into past government abuses until at least June.

A 565-member national dialogue conference concluded Jan. 21 with a series of recommendations on how best to address abuses allegedly committed during a 2011 uprising against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Hadi told Human Rights Watch he wasn't going to form a commission of inquiry until after a constitutional referendum, which is scheduled for June at the earliest.

"I have stopped the process of nominating commissioners [to the inquiry], and I will postpone this until after the referendum," he said in an interview published Monday.

Saleh stepped down in February 2012. The terms of his resignation, brokered with the help of the region's Gulf Cooperation Council, gives him immunity from alleged crimes committed during his 22 years in office.

Hadi brought women, youth leaders and members of civil society into the dialogue process aimed at drafting a new constitution and setting the terms for general elections later this year.

Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Middle East programs at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Yemen's political future may face obstacles, but the dialogue conference was an achievement nonetheless.

"It's now up to Yemen's politicians to ensure that this achievement proves lasting," she said Monday.

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