Authorities warned against settling rape case through reconciliation

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KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 16

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has issued a circular to all the 753 local levels, requesting them to act in line with the recent directive of the Office of Attorney General against those accused of rape.

In response to a letter received from the OAG yesterday, the MoFAGA urged local levels to remain watchful to ensure that no rape case is settled through reconciliation between the perpetrators and victims, whether voluntary or under coercion and undue influence. As per the OAG, the Government of Nepal will be the plaintiff in a rape case and it can be settled only through judicial proceeding in accordance with the existing law.

The OAG drew its grave attention to the settlement of rape cases in different parts of the country through an agreement reached between the perpetrators and victims in the presence of local representatives.

The OAG reminded the authorities that the law prohibits reconciliation in criminal offences, which are dealt by the government as plaintiff.

“It is the legal obligation of anyone, who knows that a rape has been committed, to inform the nearest police office, help in arresting suspects and rescue and protect the victims. Such a case is allowed to be settled only through judicial proceedings.

Any person or group involved in facilitating reconciliation between the perpetrators and victims will also be liable to legal action as per the law,” the OAG warned. Lack of effective investigation and prosecution on behalf of the victims is likely to weaken the legal side of such cases and give rise to impunity.

On June 5, the Supreme Court had maintained that the heinous crime of rape leads the victim to a state of long-lasting emotional distress.

Rape not only metes out mental trauma to the victim but also causes severe harm to his/her self-esteem.

“Victims usually suffer from Rape Trauma Syndrome and hence a court should consider it seriously while delivering justice. The victim’s body itself is the scene of crime in a rape case,” read SC verdict in a rape case.


A version of this article appears in print on October 17, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


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