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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Nepal president, Maoist govt debate wartime amnesty

Nepal president, Maoist govt debate wartime amnesty

The uneasy relationship between Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav and the ruling Maoist-led coalition is being tested again over proposed amnesty for crimes during the civil war.
The Baburam Bhattarai government recently sent four ordinances to Yadav including one on setting up a commission of inquiry on disappeared persons, truth and reconciliation.

But there’s fear that by merging the two commissions — one related to disappearances and other on truth and reconciliation — the government is planning to give blanket to human rights violators. 

Once established, the commission would have absolute discretion to recommend amnesties for serious human rights violations committed during the 1996-2006 civil war.

Rights groups both within Nepal and outside are now urging Yadav to reject this particular ordinance which was forwarded without consulting stake-holders and the national human rights commission.

Last month the president had refused to endorse two poll-related ordinances forwarded by the government. It ended the government’s hopes of holding fresh elections soon.

“Far from delivering justice, truth and reparation after years of grievances, the proposed commission would allow for amnesty for crimes under international law,” said Sam Zarifi, Asia director of International Commission of Jurists.

Besides ICJ, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and TRIAL (Swiss Association against Impunity) have written a joint letter to Yadav requesting him to reject the ordinance.

Nearly 16,000 people were killed by Maoists and government forces during the civil war and 1,400 disappeared. The conflict witnessed extra-judicial executions and sexual crimes, including rape.