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Call for Truth Commission By Human Rights Centre

The newly elected Somali government should prosecute war criminals in court, or set up a truth finding commission.

Hassan Shire Sheik, co-director of the Dr Ismail Juma'le Human Rights Centre, based in Mogadishu, told IRIN that it was essential for the new government to establish accountability, as a matter of credibility.

According to the organisation, a truth finding commission should have the ability to question "everybody without immunity, whether parliamentarian, or minister, or president".

He said that a UNESCO-organised workshop in Djibouti had presented new parliamentarians with the issue and had mainly been met "with a good response".

But Hassan Shire said that some of the newly elected parliamentarians "fear the very word human rights" because they had committed abuses in the former regime or during the 10-year civil war.

"Some of the parliamentarians are known war criminals, people who have committed crimes against humanity", he said.

According to Hassan Shire it was essential for the new government to prosecute crimes and establish a "healthy environment where rights are respected... so that we don't fall backwards in the transitional period to civil and political rights abuses".


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