Delegation of Jordan Discusses Amnesty in Legal Committee

By KATIE JONES, THE STRAITS TIMES (Interview Transcript)

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The delegation of Jordan sits huddled in a corner editing their working paper.

Q: What is your definition of amnesty?

A: We thought we had a definition. Amnesty is just a pardoning of crimes. Clearly though, that is not the definition at all. So right now, we really don’t have a definition, or at least we can say we have a vague definition. Our working paper does cover the way to develop a definition though.

Q: How does your working paper address seeking a definition of amnesty?

A: Well every nation seems to have a different interpretation of it. So one thing we have considered is having national courts from all nations get together with international courts to discuss amnesty. Then we can have a definition from a more legal standpoint, which is what we are looking for. Going forward we can then establish more specific guidelines that can be applied everywhere. It’s important that the first step be to create a definition that can be used universally when making decisions on amnesty.

Q: What sort of crimes should never be allowed to even consider when granting amnesty?

A: Well, it is tough to answer that question because I don’t want to forget any crime that is absolutely ridiculous. I would say the top ones are definitely war crimes and genocide. Those can never be excused. Especially in a region like Jordan, when there is so much conflict in the region, we cannot excuse the highest level of criminals.

Q: How has been the process of merging and moving forward with presenting these papers?

A: It’s been okay. We have gone through three mergers, and that is a bit frustrating when everyone wants to have their clauses put in. Some delegations want clauses put in that contradict with clauses that are already part of the paper. It’s difficult but, that’s how it always goes.

Q: What is one thing that you want to see coming out of this committee?

A: I hope that there is a stress on state sovereignty. We are such a small nation, and it would not be fair to have places like the United States stepping in and telling us how we should run our country. We are capable of making our own decisions. I hope that this delegation will come to that conclusion, and we seem on that path, but small nations do have a say as well.

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