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Nepal parliament to vote on amnesty bill for crimes committed during civil war

[JURIST] A senior lawmaker in Nepal on Thursday stated that those found guilty of committing crimes committed during Nepal's civil war could be granted amnesty due to the introduction of a new bill in parliament on Wednesday that aims to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission [text] and a Commission on the Disappeared. The goal of the bill is to aid in reconciliation and healing [AFP report] following the long conflict between Maoist guerrillas and the state which ended in 2006 and left more than 16,000 dead. Consent of the victim would be a mandatory in order to receive an offer of amnesty. The bill is to be debated by Nepal's parliament [official website] next week. Despite many being accused of human rights violations, including rebels, soldiers and police, for crimes including killings, rapes, torture and disappearances, no prosecutions have taken place thus far.

Nepal's treatment of human rights issues has been a controversial topic in the wake of the civil war [Insight on Conflict backgrounder] that ended in 2006. In February Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [advocacy websites] issued a joint statement [JURIST report] calling on Nepal's parliament to reject amnesty legislation that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In January UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] praised the Supreme Court ruling [JURIST report] refusing amnesty for serious human rights violations committed during the civil war. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] called on Nepal authorities [JURIST report] in November to peacefully conclude the Constituent Assembly [official website] elections and move forward with drafting a new constitution. HRW in September urged Nepal [JURIST report] to elect qualified new members for its National Human Rights Commission [official website]. The UN expressed concern over the truth and reconciliation ordinance when it was first introduced, calling on parliament [JURIST report] to withdraw the legislation last March. The UN issued a statement [JURIST report] in October 2012 calling for justice for human rights violations from the civil war.

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