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CIA pumps ‘ghost money’ to Afghan president’s office Al Arabiya, April 29, 2013 For more than a decade, suitcases, plastic bags, and backpacks filled with tens of millions of U.S. dollars were... Read more
Hamid Karzai seeks to curb CIA operations in Afghanistan Guardian, By Emma Graham-Harrison, April 19, 2013 President Hamid Karzai is determined to curb CIA operations in Afghanistan after the deat... Read more
Passing the Electoral Law: Four Controversies Down, Seven More to Go Afghanistan Analysts Network(AAN), By: Martine van Bijlert, April 26, 2013 The Wolesi Jirga has started to tackle the Electoral Law and is ... Read more
Militia Disbandment and Peace Building: AAN republication of a 2008 paper Afghanistan Analysts Network(AAN), April 28, 2013 Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) was the name of a crucial programme in the pos... Read more
Informal Justice and the International Community in Afghanistan United States Institute of Peace(USIP), Bu Noah Coburn, April 2013 This report analyzes the array of programs that dealt with the so-called... Read more
یافته‌های ۸صبح: معادن افغانستان تاراج می‌شوند روزنامه 8صبح، گزارشگر: اکبر رستمی، 11 حمل 1392یافته‌های روزنامه ۸صبح نشان می‌دهد که پس از انتخاب وحیدالله شهرانی به حیث وزیر «معادن، نفت و گ... Read more
“Good” water governance models in Afghanistan: Gaps and Opportunities Afghanistan Research and evaluation Unit(AREU), March 2013This policy note draws on evidence from recent EU-funded AREU field research to ex... Read more
Karzai’s Curious Counterblast Institute for War & Peace Reporting(IWPR), By Hafizullah Gardesh, March 22, 2013Whatever President Hamed Karzai’s motives for launching ... Read more
The Politics of Aid Chatham House, March 14, 2013This is a transcript of a speech made by Sir John Holmes, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator (2007-10), on 14 Marc... Read more
2014: The Other Afghan Withdrawal Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), By Reyes, Gabriel , February 28, 2013The withdrawal of international troops seems to hav... Read more

The forty sixth edition of Truth Newsletter as usual contains the most important issues reflected in the Kabul print media in four areas: prospects More...
The forty fifth edition of the Truth Newsletter reflects the published articles in the Kabul print media in the areas of prospects for political More...

17 July 2013
Statement of Afghanistan Watch on the International Justice Day   In June 2010, the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Uganda declared 17 July as an More...
29 June 2013
Press Release: An alliance of 36 Afghan and international civil society organisations have urged the Afghan government and its donors to deliver on their commitment to effective oversight in the More...
17 July 2011
Statement of Afghanistan Watch on the International Criminal Justice Day   This year for the first time in world history, 17 July is celebrated as International Criminal Justice Day. The day More...
18 July 2010
17 civil society actors, representing more than 200 civil society organisations, and several media organisations, unite before the approaching Kabul Conference to ask the Afghan Government to pass More...
10 December 2009
Statement of Afghanistan Watch on the 10th of December the Universal Human Rights Day and Victims Day in Afghanistan The 10th of December is the Universal Day of Human Rights and officially More...

27 May 2013
Civil Society Natural Resources Monitoring Network (CSNRMN) Press Release Saturday 26 May 2013 Kabul - In recognition of growing importance of the natural resources, in particular the extractive More...
12 May 2013
The Civil Society Natural Resources Monitoring Network (CSNRMN) monthly meeting was held in Afghanistan Watch on 12 May 2013. The meeting was opened by remarks from Jalil Benish, the director of More...
11 April 2013
In its series of seminar regarding important political and social issues in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Watch has held a seminar on reconciliation with Taliban and the role of media and civil More...
15 January 2013
A number of civil society organizations in Afghanistan in a one-day meeting have assessed challenges and opportunities in regards with the extraction of mines in Afghanistan. The meeting took place More...
25 December 2012
Afghanistan Watch Second Conference with Civil Societies and Media representatives As part of its efforts to collect and analyze Afghan media coverage of key current issues facing Afghanistan, More...

Accountability not Impunity: Only victims have the right to forgive

TJCG statement on Amnesty Law

“We do not give anyone else the right to forgive or deal with the blood of our dead”

– Woman whose father and brother were killed by a rocket during the civil war

The Transitional Justice Coordination Group (TJCG), a coalition of 24 civil society organisations, calls upon the Government of Afghanistan to immediately suspend the ‘National Reconciliation, General Amnesty and National Stability Law’. The TJCG contends that rather than promote reconciliation and stability, by granting a blanket amnesty this law promotes impunity and prevents genuine reconciliation. Accountability, not amnesia, for past and present crimes is a prerequisite for genuine reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan. All Afghans will suffer as a result of implementation of this law, which undermines justice and the rule of law.

The people of Afghanistan are all victims of the egregious crimes and human rights abuses committed over the past three decades. All ethnic groups, geographical regions and social groups have suffered. The fact that the people of Afghanistan have suffered should not leave us speechless in trying to address justice for these crimes.

The government of Afghanistan does not have the right to usurp the rights of victims. Only the victims have the right to forgive perpetrators. But the state has a duty to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations such as disappearances, torture and extra judicial killings. Although there is provision in Article 3 (3) for victims to bring individual claims, this places an unfair burden upon victims, who have already suffered so much and would put themselves at risk of reprisals given the impunity that prevails in Afghanistan today. This provision is particularly impractical so far as it concerns women and the many victims of sexual violence, who already face considerable barriers to obtaining justice.

Provision for the granting of amnesty in respect of future crimes further undermines the legitimacy of the law and serves as an open invitation for the continued commission of abuses with impunity.


The TJCG calls upon the government of Afghanistan to:

1) Immediately suspend the ‘National Reconciliation, General Amnesty and National Stability Law’ with a view to its eventual abolishment.

2) Ensure widespread consultation with victims, human rights organizations, civil society and the people of Afghanistan when drafting laws. Parliament must represent the will of the people of Afghanistan, not the illegitimate will of a minority.

3) Respect the rights and legitimate grievances of victims. It is not the right of the government to forgive and grant amnesties to war criminals. The government should support victims and take appropriate measures to ensure their ability to exercise their fundamental rights. A special unit should be established within the government to support transitional justice and victims needs, including witness protection.

4) Ensure that all laws are constitutional and do not violate fundamental rights.

5) Ensure that all laws are reviewed for consistency with Afghanistan’s obligations under international law and ensure that Afghanistan upholds its obligations under international law. All states have a non-derogable duty to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture. The amnesty law is in breach of Afghanistan’s international obligations under the Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutes of Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

6) Urgently re-commit itself to the implementation on the Action Plan on Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, which clearly states in Key Actions 4 and 5 that there can be no amnesty for war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights.


Based in Kabul, the Afghanistan Watch focuses on activities that promote justice, respect for human rights and a culture of accountability and transparency in the country. Recognizing the need for greater understanding of the perils and opportunities facing Afghanistan today, the organization aims to conduct in-depth research and publish reports and papers on issues relevant to its goals and values independently or in partnership with other national and international organizations.

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Washington fuelling graft in Afghanistan

According to Namatullah Ibrahimi with Afghanistan Watch, a Kabul-based non-governmental organization, drawing a clear distinction between clean and dirty money in the country is a difficult task. Corruption is often a matter of perception.

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Looking Back: An Afghanistan Watch Analysis of the Voting Patterns in the First Parliament

What lessons can be drawn from the first parliamentary cycle? What voting patterns and political alignments have developed in the parliament? What ideas, ideologies and powers have been at play when the parliament voted for the Mass Media Law, the National Reconciliation Charter or the Higher Education Law? These are some of the questions addressed in Afghanistan Watch’s report ‘The First Experience - Voting Patterns and Political Alignments in the Wolesi Jirga 2005-2010’. Sari Kouvo, AAN Co-Director, takes a closer look at the research conducted by Afghanistan Watch and funded by AAN

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Asia Speech for General Debate

Speech of Jalil Benish for the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC

Distinguished members of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

My name is Jalil Benish of Afghanistan Watch from Kabul, Afghanistan, speaking on behalf of my colleagues in the Coalition for the ICC- Asia-Pacific.

We are witnessing a definite trend towards accountability for the most serious crimes in the Asia Pacific – a region that has seen horrible atrocities being committed in the past and present and yet is one of the most underrepresented before the ICC. Of the six ratifications for 2011, three of them – the Philippines in Southeast Asia, Maldives in South Asia and Vanuatu in the Pacific – are in Asia-Pacific, bringing to a total of 17 the states parties to the ICC from the region. On this occasion, we would also like to commend the government of Malaysia for having completed the necessary steps within the domestic level for accession to the Rome Statute, and call on it promptly deposit its instrument of accession, thus bringing to 18 the total number of states parties in the region.

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Website link: Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)

Afghans campaign amid warzone


A report released this month by the Afghanistan Watch organisation and funded by the Afghan Analysts Network characterised parliament as being wracked by continual ethnic and sectarian fights, throwing obstacles in front of processes such as approving effective cabinet nominees.

The report quoted Kabir Ranjbar, a member of parliament, as saying that "the approaches based on ethnicity, language and religion have been a main point of the Wolesi Jirga’s weakness and the main factor for approval of the incapable and inefficient ministers. If the [members of parliament] had considered the national interests during the process of confidence voting for the cabinet nominees, the consequent confusions would have been prevented."

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Impunity and Instability: An Unbroken Cycle

Middle East Institute Viewpoints: Afghanistan, 1979-2009: In the Grip of Conflict •

By: Abdul Jalil Benish, director of Afghanistan Watch

Impunity in Afghanistan is like an unwritten law which benefits the wealthiest and most powerful criminals.

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