Pakistan’s president has passed an ordinance aimed at ensuring rape trials are completed within four months, while also setting up a national sex offender registry.

“The President of the country Dr Arif Alvi has approved the Anti-Rape Ordinance 2020,” said a statement from his office on Tuesday, adding that the ordinance will remain valid for 120 days until it needs to be ratified by parliament. “The ordinance will help expedite [legal] cases of sexual abuse against women and children.”

The new ordinance will set up special courts to try cases of sexual abuse of women and children, requiring all proceedings to be completed within four months.

It also establishes a special government cell to expedite the processing of legal cases, giving it the power to intervene and order medical examinations of rape survivors within six hours of a complaint being registered.

A lack of adequate medical evidence has often been at the heart of acquittals in rape cases in the country.

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