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Nepal should fix reconciliation act: rights body

New York: Nepal should act immediately to fix crucial flaws in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Act, particularly those highlighted in a new UN evaluation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists said Wednesday.

The assessment, in a technical note from the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human rights to the Nepal government, pointed out that the TRC Act does not conform to Nepal’s international legal obligations, including in that it allows for amnesty for crimes committed under international law.

Five experts for the UN Human Rights Council have also voiced similar serious concerns over the TRC Act, passed by Nepal’s Constituent Assembly in April.

“The UN’s findings are consistent with what human rights groups have been saying all along – Nepal’s TRC Act is fundamentally flawed and could leave thousands of victims of conflict-related violations without access to the justice they deserve,” said Richard Bennett at Amnesty International.

“The act allows the commission to recommend amnesties for crimes under international law, including war crimes, which flies in the face of Nepal’s obligations under international law.”

Nepal’s Supreme Court in January rejected an earlier version of the TRC Act – the 2013 Truth and Reconciliation Ordinance, which contained many of the same flawed provisions.

The court ruled that any mechanism for transitional justice must conform to international legal standards, lead to accountability for serious human rights violations, and guarantee victims their right to remedy and reparation.

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly defied the Supreme Court ruling, and passed the TRC Act.

It became law May 11. The act is only a slightly modified version of the 2013 TRC Ordinance and fails to address the Supreme Court’s concerns.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on a petition challenging the new act in July 2014.

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