[JURIST] The Iraqi government is mulling pardons for several thousand convicted insurgents, Iraqi government officials said Monday. A committee is being formed to draw up guidelines for issuing the pardons, including which offenses would be eligible for pardons and whether parliamentary approval would be required; a Sunni official from the office of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] noted that the country's constitution [text, PDF] requires that any pardons be approved by the Iraqi parliament. According to officials, the plan being considered now would only pardon convicted prisoners, and would not apply to detainees not yet charged. AP has more.
Earlier this year, the country's largest Sunni parliamentary bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front [BBC backgrounder], boycotted major government meetings in response to the failure of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] to respond to demands [JURIST report] which included pardons for uncharged security detainees. In October, Iraqi Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi urged fellow Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi and President Jalal Talabani [EPIC profiles, PDF] to press the Iraqi parliament to pardon detainees [JURIST report] not classified as "dangerous elements" linked to the insurgency. Of the 25,000 Iraqis currently being held by the US, 90 percent are believed to be Sunnis. Many Iraqi leaders have said that granting pardons to thousands of prisoners would be a major move toward national unity.