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Cablegate: Niger: President Tandja Grants Amnesty to Rebels And

VZCZCXRO0545
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0835 2992009
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 262009Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5404
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1684
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000835

DEPT FOR AF/W AND AF/RSA; PLS PASS TO USAID FOR AFR/W
ACCRA ALSO FOR USAID/WA
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU - J MAYBURY
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM SOCI PHUM NG
SUBJECT: Niger: President Tandja Grants Amnesty to Rebels and
Supporters among Security Forces

Ref: Niamey 00821

1. (U) On October 23, President Tandja signed an order granting
amnesty to Tuareg rebels who have relinquished their weapons,
representing a major step beyond the largely ceremonial acts
organized in the past to mark the ongoing peace process involving
Niger's vast north.

2. (U) The following is a translation of the order signed by
President Tandja:

(Begin text)

Thus, under the order, the following persons have been granted
amnesty, in all their effects and consequences, for their deeds and
acts capable of being treated as criminal acts and committed as part
of the armed insurrection during the period from 2005 to the date of
signing of the present order.

Those who are beneficiaries of this amnesty, within the conditions
defined in Paragraph 1, are:

-- The perpetrators, co-perpetrators, and accomplices of the crimes
and offenses committed during the said period.

-- Members of the defense and security forces or any other persons
that supported them.

-- Persons that were members of the free movements of the armed
insurrection.

The provisions of this order apply to persons tried, sentenced to
jail, or being sought after, or liable to search warrants, for the
offenses committed during the period of the armed insurrection. The
modalities for the implementation of this order will be fixed by
decree.

(End text)

3. (U) Comment: While amnesty for Tuareg rebels was expected based
on the October 10 meeting between GON officials, former Tuareg rebel
factions, and Libyan mediators (reftel), some analysts criticized
the hastiness taken in announcing this decision. Some critics
believe that amnesty should be subject to law, not a decree.
President Tandja, no matter what his powers, cannot unilaterally
grant amnesty. Observers further criticized this decision as an
attempt to block any legal action regarding the December 2007
killing of seven civilians by the military near Tiguidit.

4. (SBU) Lawyers of the victims' families allege the Government of
Niger (GON) is delaying investigation of the aforementioned case.
Consequently, in late September 2009, the families decided to take
the case to the ECOWAS Court of Justice, arguing that the GON failed
to investigate the case and bring suspected perpetrators to justice.
End comment.

ALLEN

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