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Apprehend Nepal war perpetrators - UN

2012-10-08 21:41

Geneva - The UN's human rights agency issued a report on Monday criticising Nepalese authorities for failing to bring to justice perpetrators of thousands of serious rights violations during the country's decade-long civil war.

"Perpetrators of serious violations on both sides have not been held accountable, in some cases have been promoted, and may now even be offered an amnesty," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement introducing the 233-page report.

The report, which details crimes committed by all parties during the drawn-out civil war that ended in 2006, was published along with a database of some 33 000 documents from the UN agency's archives - most of which were already in the public domain.

Based on the documents, "it is reasonable to suspect that up to 9 000 serious human rights or international humanitarian law violations may have been committed during the decade-long conflict", the report's authors said.

13 000+ dead

But "at the time of writing this report, no one in Nepal has been prosecuted in a civilian court for a serious conflict-related crime", they added.

At least 13 000 people died during the 10 years of fighting between Maoist rebels and government forces, and more than 1 300 are still missing, according to the UN.

The Nepalese government puts the death toll at 17 000.

Most of the violations detailed in the report are linked to forced disappearances, executions and arbitrary detentions, as well as torture and sexual violence.

In the peace accord signed by the government and the Communist Party of Nepal in November 2006, both parties committed to creating mechanisms aimed at ensuring accountability for the perpetrators and justice and reparations for the victims, the UN rights agency pointed out.

Lacking mechanisms


Yet "six years later, the transitional justice mechanisms promised in the peace accords have still not been established, and successive governments have withdrawn cases that were before the courts", Pillay pointed out.

The report does not name the perpetrators and victims, except in cases where they had already been named in publicly available documents.

It also does not make a "scorecard" of how many violations each side committed, but instead simply presents each crime and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Rory Mungoven, the head of UN rights agency's Asia Pacific division, told reporters that some of the violations described in the report amounted to "war crimes".

This, he said, explained why the UN is adamantly opposed any amnesties in Nepal, since offering amnesty for such serious violations was not permitted under international law.

Government

Nepal, an impoverished, multi-ethnic Himalayan nation, has had a barely functioning government since the end of the civil war and subsequent abolition of the unpopular monarchy in 2008.

The Maoists won elections in 2008, but have been ruling as a "caretaker" government with no parliament and no real mandate after the legislature was dissolved earlier this year when the political leaders failed to meet a deadline to write a new peacetime constitution.

New elections are set for 22 November.