Nepal: Deuba for national reconciliation mission



Nepal: Deuba for national reconciliation mission Kathmandu: Pushing for the setting up of a national reconciliation panel in Nepal, senior leader of the main opposition party Sher Bahadur Deuba has said he and Maoist supremo Prachanda should take moral responsibility for the crimes during the decade-long civil war in the country.

"Prachanda and I should take moral responsibility for the conflict era crimes," said Deuba, who was the Prime Minister when the Maoists started their insurgency in 1996 seeking the overthrow of the Nepal king.

Human rights organisations, including Amnesty International Nepal, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and Advocacy Forum, have flayed both the Maoist guerrillas and the Nepal army for committing rights violations during the conflict that ended in 2006.

Last year, they urged Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to honour the commitments made by both the government and the Maoist party to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses during and after the armed conflict accountable before the law. Political parties have in the past agreed to punish those responsible for the crimes.

More than 15,000 people were killed and thousands others were displaced during the civil war.

Deuba endorsed the idea of setting up a truth and reconciliation commission based on the South African model for providing justice to the victims of the insurgency.

The best way to ensure lasting peace in the country is to reconcile and not to go for prosecution, he was quoted as saying by the Nepalese daily Kathmandu Post.

Deuba suggested that it was not wise to drag one another into the prosecution process for wrongs committed in the past. The leaders from both the sides should take moral responsibility for the crimes, he underlined.

Deuba claimed that top leaders of the Maoist party and senior leaders of Nepali Congress had on December 15 last year agreed to grant blanket amnesty to all cases of crimes during the armed-conflict.

Bhattarai had earlier pledged to take action against human rights violators and an end to impunity in the country.

The Maoists, who waged a decade-long insurgency, joined mainstream politics after the 2006 peace deal with the interim government led by G. P. Koirala, won the largest number of parliamentary seats in the April 2008 elections.

Replying to questions regarding the formation of a consensus government in Nepal, Deuba claimed that he still remains the Nepali Congress party's official candidate.

He also flayed the party chief Sushil Koirala for dissolving party organisations "unilaterally". "You cannot dissolve any organization unilaterally," he said.

PTI