Rights watchdog raps Nepal over war crimes


 Reuters International

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Ten years after the end of Nepal's bloody civil war, the Himalayan republic has failed to punish perpetrators of human rights abuses during the conflict, a leading international watchdog said on Friday.

Both government forces and Maoist former rebels were accused by rights activists of rape, arrests, illegal killings, disappearances and torture during the decade-long insurgency that ended in 2006 – conflict that caused about 17,000 deaths while hundreds disappeared.

New York-based Human Rights Watch blamed the Nepali government and political parties for continued "cynical stalling" on accountability for war crimes.

The government formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and another Commission to Investigate Enforced Disappearances (CIED) last year to hear complaints on war crimes and disappearances.

But activists say the panels were set up under legislation which allowed perpetrators amnesties and did not meet international standards.

"Every step of the way, what we see with the Nepali government and political parties is a willingness to sacrifice victims' needs in order to promote their own interests," Brad Adams, HRW's Asia director, said in a statement.

"This is a fundamental betrayal of the promises made a decade ago when the democratic parties wrested control from an authoritarian state, established a peace and promised new inclusive and just governance," he said.

Law Minister Ajaya Shankar Nayak said the government, elected in August, was working to improve the law to bring it in line with international standards and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the conflict.

"This is one of the main objectives of the government and we will complete the work soon," Nayak told Reuters.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Douglas Busvine)

Reuters

 Reuters International