ACJ – Yemen
The American Center for Justice (ACJ) has been following the results of signing a deal to swap detainees on Sunday between the internationally recognized government and Houthis as an initial phase of the first round of negotiations sponsored and supervised by the United Nations and the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Martin Griffith.
The warring sides expressed their commitment to release 1080 detainees and prisoners, 400 of whom would be released by Houthi rebels while the government would free 680. The implementation of the deal would be facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
The American Center for Justice (ACJ) supported and welcomed all the efforts that alleviate the suffering of the detainees. Nevertheless, the American Center for Justice (ACJ) expressed its reservation about excluding the detained journalists, persons sentenced to death, people transferred to the public prosecution and courts in areas under Houthi control as well as detainees transferred to the military court in Marib whose names were on the list discussed in Sweden talks.
The American Center for Justice further stressed the danger of exploiting the detainees file in political negotiations and using detainees as leverage to achieve mutual interests which is considered to be another crime against humanity that can be added to the record of human rights violations committed against civilians in Yemen including forced disappearance, arbitrary detention and deprivation of basic rights. It also emphasized that using the detainees as an instrument of pressure and political blackmail is regarded as a grave violation of all international laws and customary norms.
The American Center for Justice (ACJ) stated today’s announced deal could lead to derail Stockholm agreement, which implied the importance of releasing all detainees unconditionally. ACJ also indicated that implementing Stockholm agreement must be placed at the top of the Special Envoy agenda for the ongoing negotiations and to put pressure on parties to the conflict to implement it instead of stalling implementation.
The American Center for Justice called for the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen and the international community to fully and speedy implementation of the Stockholm Agreement and to put pressure on Houthis in particular to comply with the terms of the agreement and release detainees and to reveal the fate and whereabouts of the forcibly disappeared persons as Houthi rebels turned out to be the key obstacle to implementing this agreement.