Section D. Amnesty to encourage return
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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”.