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UN rights chief welcomes Nepal court ruling rejecting amnesty

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Monday welcomed [press release] last week's decision by Nepal's top refusing to grant amnesty [JURIST report] for serious human rights violations committed during Nepal's civil war. Pillay declared the decision to be a "significant development" for the victims of the war, which lasted from 1996 to 2006 and claimed at least 13,000 lives, with another 1,300 going missing during the conflict. She stressed that Nepal would need to do more work to correct issues, such as the criminal justice system and other aspects of Nepalese law, that lead to continued violations of human rights. Pillay added: "I now call on the Government of Nepal to urgently implement this important decision, in the spirit of working towards genuine and lasting peace, and to respect the demand of the Nepalese people for justice." The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] is prepared to provide support and guidance to Nepal's government during the reform.

In March Pillay called for Nepal to withdraw [JURIST report] the power to grant amnesty for human rights violations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ordinance. In January of last year the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [official website] called on the Nepal government to cooperate with an investigation [JURIST report] into allegations leveled against Nepal Army Colonel Kumar Lama who is charged with two counts of torture during Nepal's civil war. In October 2012 the OHCHR released a report [JURIST report] urging justice for victims of international law violations that occurred during Nepal's civil war. In April 2012 Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] and the ICJ urged Nepal to reject blanket amnesty [JURIST report] for crimes committed during the countries civil war. In April 2011 Kyung-Wha Kang, the former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned [JURIST report] Nepal for its reluctance to prosecute war crimes and for its lack of progress on women's rights. Both the OHCHR and HRW [JURIST reports] have appealed to the Nepalese government to investigate human rights violations committed during the civil war.

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