Practice Relating to Rule 132. Return of Displaced Persons

Note: For practice concerning amnesty for participation in armed conflict in general, see Rule 159, Section A.
Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs
In paragraph 3(c) of the 1994 Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs, the parties agreed that:
Displaced persons/refugees shall have the right to return peacefully without risk of arrest, detention, imprisonment or legal criminal proceedings. Such immunity shall not apply to persons where there are serious evidences that they have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity as defined in international instruments and international practice as well as serious non-political crimes committed in the context of the conflict. Such immunity shall also not apply to persons who have previously taken part in the hostilities and are currently serving in armed formations … Persons falling into these categories should be informed through appropriate channels of the possible consequences they may face upon return. 
Quadripartite Agreement on Voluntary Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Republic of Georgia, between the Abkhaz and Georgian Sides, the Russian Federation and UNHCR, Moscow, 4 April 1994, annexed to Letter dated 5 April 1994 from the permanent representative of Georgia to the UN addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN Doc. S/1994/397, 5 April 1994, Annex II, § 3(c).
Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords
The 1995 Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords provides:
Any returning refugee or displaced person charged with a crime, other than a serious violation of international humanitarian law … or a common-law crime unrelated to the conflict, shall upon return enjoy an amnesty. 
General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Annex 7, Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons, signed by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, Dayton, 22 November 1995.
Protocol on Tajik Refugees
Paragraph 2 of the 1997 Protocol on Tajik Refugees provides:
The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan assumes the obligation … not to institute criminal proceedings against returning refugees or displaced persons for their participation in the political confrontation and the civil war, in accordance with the legislation in force in the Republic. 
Protocol on Refugees between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, the United Tajik Opposition and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Tajikistan, Tehran, 13 January 1997, annexed to UN Doc. S/1997/56, Progress Report of the UN Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan, 21 January 1997, Annex III, § 2.
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UN Secretary-General
In 1996, in a report on the situation of human rights in Croatia, the UN Secretary-General noted:
One potential obstacle to the return of young adult males is the requirement that they first undergo interrogations by Croatian authorities concerning their activities on behalf of the so-called “Republic of Serb Krajina”. In the absence of broad amnesty legislation, these interrogations have caused widespread apprehension among potential returnees, as well as delays in the processing of applications. 
UN Secretary-General, Further report on the situation of human rights in Croatia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1019 (1995), UN Doc. S/1996/691, 23 August 1996, § 22.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
In 1996, in a statement before the UN Commission on Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees stated:
Personal security was evidently of critical importance in the context of peaceful and dignified return. The amnesty adopted by the Bosnian parliament, covering, inter alia, draft evaders and deserters, was thus a very welcome step. 
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Statement before the UN Commission on Human Rights, Summary Record, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1996/SR.4, 25 March 1996, § 54.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Special Rapporteur)
In 1996, in a report on the situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights noted:
54. The new Law on Amnesty passed by the Parliament [of Croatia] … has been hailed by most observers as a significant step towards both the return of Croatian Serb refugees and the peaceful reintegration of the region of Eastern Slavonia into the rest of the country. However, the Special Rapporteur’s attention has been drawn to the need to scrutinize the Law’s application in practice.
57. … The potential benefit of the new amnesty legislation in raising the confidence of Croatia’s Serb population and encouraging returns would be substantially damaged if persons still found themselves the subject of criminal proceedings. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia, Periodic report, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/9, 22 October 1996, §§ 54 and 57.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation on Kosovo adopted in 1998, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly urged the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to create the conditions for displaced persons to return voluntarily in safety and dignity to their own homes, including “providing and respecting an amnesty for those wishing to return”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Rec. 1385, 24 September 1998, § 7(b).
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