KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Any possible peace deal with insurgents will be almost impossible to achieve in Afghanistan until the country comes to grips with the war crimes that have bloodied its recent past, says Canada's ambassador to Kabul.
Human rights violations are not limited to insurgents. Afghanistan's parliament is stacked with former warlords, many with blood on their hands, from the country's chaotic civil war in the early 1990s.
"Canada has long supported the concept of transitional justice. That is to say, those who have committed atrocities -- not just those who are insurgents -- but those who may be part of the political process now should, in one way or another, account for their actions."
The Afghan government in 2005 established, but never implemented, a transitional justice system. The program set a deadline of March 2009 to investigate, document and bring war criminals to justice.
"It was a total disaster," said Ahmal Samadi of Afghanistan Rights Monitor, a human-rights group. "No single criminal was identified; no one brought to justice."
There was no political will among the Karzai government, nor the international community, which did not provide the support and expertise to carry out proper forensic investigations, he said.
Samadi said Afghans are harbouring pent-up anger and frustration.
No peace without justice, says envoy to Afghanistan