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Nepal bill to pardon former Maoist rebels

KATHMANDU—Former Maoist rebels or security force members who committed crimes during Nepal’s civil war could be granted an amnesty except in cases of rape under planned legislation, a senior lawmaker said Thursday.

The government late Wednesday introduced a bill in parliament to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission on the Disappeared, aimed at healing wounds from the decade-long conflict.

Those found guilty of serious crimes during hearings by the commissions could receive a pardon except for cases of rape, said Ramesh Lekhak, a member of the ruling Nepali Congress party who drafted the bill.

“No amnesty will be granted to those accused of rape,” Lekhak said.

“The commissions will investigate (other) cases and recommend whether they qualify for amnesty,” he told AFP, adding that any offer of amnesty would still need the victim’s approval.

“Our focus is on reconciliation. But the victim’s consent will be mandatory to pardon the accused,” he added.

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