Nepal: ICJ urges accountability for violations detailed in OHCHR report

Nepal’s government must ensure accountability for the thousands of violations perpetrated by security forces and Maoists during the country’s civil war, as documented in a new report by the UN, the ICJ said today.

In a Briefing Paper “ Compromising Justice: Nepal’s Proposed Ordinance on Commission on Disappeared Persons, Truth and Reconciliation (2012)” issued today, the ICJ highlighted recent efforts by the Nepali government to undermine accountability by weakening proposed transitional justice mechanisms and promoting suspected violators.

The ICJ also welcomed the report by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) conflict-era human rights violations, released against the direct protest of the Government of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The “OHCHR Conflict Report” documents approximately 9000 violations, with responsibility pointing to both the State and the Maoists.

“This sobering report chronicles the devastating human impact of the human rights and humanitarian law violations that continue to burden the victims and their families,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia director. “We applaud the OHCHR but also urge it and the international community to not relegate this report to the shelf, but to ensure that it is introduced at all levels as a basis for advocating for truth, justice, and reparations.”

“This report is all the more important as it comes against the backdrop of systematic efforts by Nepal’s government to avoid accountability and in fact to reward some of those suspected of serious violations,” Zarifi said.

ICJ’s Briefing Paper “ Compromising Justice: Nepal’s Proposed Ordinance on Commission on Disappeared Persons, Truth and Reconciliation (2012)” highlighted the serious shortcomings of a proposed Ordinance issued by the Cabinet that backtracks on previous commitments to justice included in the country’s 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accord, the 2007 Constitution, as well as decisions of the Supreme Court.

ICJ reiterated its strong condemnation of the promotion of Kuber Singh Rana to IGP of the Nepal Police 13 September 2012, and of Raju Basnet to Brigadier General 4 October 2012. Both men have been implicated by the country’s Supreme Court in decisions ordering full investigations of their culpability.

“Instead of supporting the Nepali criminal justice system and the promised transitional justice mechanisms, the Nepali government is actively reneging on its promises to the Nepali people to provide truth, accountability and reconciliation,” Zarifi said.

As reaction has mounted against the promotions by national and international actors, the ICJ also noted with concern the growing climate of intimidation faced by judges, lawyers and human rights defenders.

There are credible reports of intimidating phone calls against those contesting the promotions.

Public demonstrations on 7 and 9 October 2012 were met with unnecessary use of force by the police, including lathi charges resulting in over a dozen injuries.

“Nepal’s international supporters should press the government to meet its commitments and its obligations under international law,” Zarifi said. “Meanwhile, all countries have an obligation to cooperate in investigation and prosecution of any individuals facing credible allegations of serious violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law, including prosecution of suspected perpetrators under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction.”

In Kathmandu, for ICJ, Govinda Sharma: t +977-985-106-1167
In Bangkok, for ICJ Asia-Pacific, Sam Zarifi: t +66-807-819-002

Nepal-TJ Ordinance accountability-analysis brief-2012

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