The Malian government will propose a law of “national understanding” extending amnesty to “all those involved in an armed rebellion”, provided they have “no blood on their hands,” announced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in his end-of-year message.
The head of state also used the occasion to“put an end to some speculation” on a possible postponement of the elections scheduled for 2018, reiterating “the assurance that all elections – and more particularly the presidential and legislative – will be held in the respect of constitutional deadlines “, without saying whether he would be a candidate.
“I’m at work, I’m working, and I fully understand the difficulty of inheriting a country that some had plunged into chaos and wanted to destroy,” he said simply, calling the coming year “crucial” for Mali.
It neither constitutes a premium for impunity, nor an admission of weakness. Even less a denial of the rights of victims
His message, on the night of Sunday to Monday, came shortly after the appointment of a new government and the return to Mali for a week from his predecessor Amadou Amani Touré (2002-2012), after five years of exile in Senegal .
President Keïta said he was inspired by the “Charter for Peace, Unity and National Reconciliation” which was handed to him on June 20, two years to the day after the signing of the peace agreement in Mali by the former Tuareg-dominated rebellion in the north of the country.
To “reinforce national reconciliation”, this charter “proposes special measures to end prosecution or amnesty for certain actors of the 2012 armed rebellion,” he said.
“The draft law on the national agreement” to be presented “in the coming weeks” will therefore provide for “the exemption from prosecution of all those involved in armed rebellion, but who have no blood on their hands” , he added.
It will also include “appeasement measures following the acceleration of ongoing proceedings and reparations to recognized victims”, as well as a “reintegration program for all those who lay down their arms and publicly pledge to give up violence, “said the head of state.
But it “neither constitutes a premium for impunity, nor an admission of weakness. Even less a denial of the rights of victims, “he said, noting that other countries facing the same phenomena” have practiced a similar approach “, referring in particular to the law of” concord civil “in neighboring Algeria.
“It offers a possibility of reintegration to those who let themselves be dragged into armed protest, but who have not committed the unacceptable and who show sincere repentance,” he said.
Northern Mali had fallen in March-April 2012 under the guise of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamist groups.
The jihadists were largely driven out of this region following the launch in 2013, at France’s initiative, of an international military intervention, which is still ongoing.