(MENAFN - Arab News) The UN's human rights office says any power-transfer deal with Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh would be illegal if it included blanket immunity.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Tuesday "international law is pretty clear" that amnesty cannot be granted to someone who could face war-crimes charges.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the reported killing of a number of largely peaceful protesters in Sanaa and Taez as a result of the indiscriminate use of force by Yemeni security forces since Saturday," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
"We are extremely concerned that security forces continue to use excessive force in a climate of complete impunity for crimes resulting in heavy loss of life and injury, despite repeated pledges by the government to the contrary," he added.
Calling for a halt to violence, Colville said an international, independent and transparent investigation has to be carried out so as to prosecute those responsible for the killings.
Meanwhile, Yemen's Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman said the UN must act "immediately and decisively" to halt the deadly crackdown on protesters.
Karman urged the United Nations "to take immediate and decisive action to stop the massacres and hold the perpetrators accountable," in a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, a copy of which she showed to journalists in Doha. "This is the only thing that will give Yemenis ... confidence that international justice exists ... and that it extends far enough to reach Saleh, his gang and all the despots who continue to kill innocents."
Karman and tens of thousands of other pro-democracy activists have for months been camped out in Sanaa's Change Square, marching against Saleh. "Protect the peaceful protesters in Yemen," she wrote in the letter, ahead of her departure Tuesday to New York where she had been invited to give a speech at the UN on Yemen's 10-month uprising.
"In the name of the victims and in the name of our people, I call on you to take Saleh and his regime to the International Criminal Court."
Karman said she planned to call on the "free people of America" to protest in front of the UN building and demand Saleh's assets be frozen, his travel be restricted," and his alleged crimes punished.
Meanwhile, at least seven protesters were killed and dozens wounded on Tuesday as gunmen loyal to Saleh opened fire on demonstrators in the Yemeni capital, medics and the opposition said.
It was the third time in four days that demonstrators had attempted to march from their base in Sanaa's Change Square on loyalist-held areas of the capital to be met by deadly gunfire.
Leading activist Sakhr Al-Wajih told a press conference that six protesters were killed and 59 wounded. A medic said a seventh slain protester was received at the state-run Republican hospital, along with four wounded, one in a serious condition. Doctors at the makeshift clinic that protesters have set up in Change Square, where they have camped out for months, said dozens of the injured had sustained bullet wounds, while others were being treated for tear gas inhalation.