Rights group: Nepal conflict-era rapes unpunished

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KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Both government troops and communist guerrillas raped women during Nepal's decadelong insurgency but the violence has gone largely unpunished, in part because of a short time limit for reporting attacks, a human rights group said Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch in a report released in Katmandu called the 35-day time limit unacceptable.

"Nepal's 35-day statute of limitations on reporting sexual violence is an unacceptable and illogical additional hurdle to reporting rape," the group's report said. "Several victims said they were told that they could not lodge complaints with the police as they were barred by the statute of limitations."

The group said it was unsure about the number of such victims, but Kopila Adhikari of Nepal-based Advocacy Forum said they have documented more than 200 such women and were gathering evidence.

The Maoist rebels and government troops fought between 1996 and 2006 when a U.N.-monitored peace agreement ended the war. More than 13,000 people were killed in the conflict while hundreds more remain missing.

Since Maoists gave up their armed revolt, they have joined mainstream politics and participated in elections and their fighters have been integrated in the national army.

Both the government and the Maoists have said a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would investigate all crimes committed during the conflict. The commission has not yet been formed because political parties disagree on who the members would be and how much power the commission would have.

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