Judges and Prosecutors in Nepal have taken up the challenge to step up their efforts to ensure that victims and survivors of human rights violations are able effectively to access justice.
At a Judicial Dialogue convened by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Advocacy Forum Nepal (AFN) in collaboration with Judges Society Nepal (JSN) on 15 – 16 September 2023, judges and prosecutors from district and high courts in Gandaki Province in Nepal attended and assessed the challenges faced by victims and survivors in the context of the stalled transitional justice process which followed from the end of Nepal’s internal armed conflict in 2006.
The Government of Nepal has made repeated commitments to ensure access to justice and the Supreme Court of Nepal has affirmed that the authorities have firm legal obligations to act in the transitional justice process. Participants considered that there had been serious undue delay in the Nepalese TJ process over years, which have included ineffective commissions, non-implementation of court rulings and a failure to take into account the voices of victims of human rights violations. There was therefore a pressing need for judges and public prosecutors to play a more proactive role in order to address conflict-era gross violations delivering justice for the victims of the violations.
ICJ Commissioner and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal Kalyan Shrestha, emphasized that it was indispensable to adhere to international and domestic human rights law, including the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. He expressed concern that adjudication of conflict-related cases had been significantly delayed, resulting in a prolonged wait for justice for the victims of human rights violations. Justice Shrestha also underscored the need for Nepal’s judiciary and public prosecutors to effectively fulfill their responsibilities and ensure justice for victims of human rights violations, in accordance with a well-developed body of jurisprudence on justice in the transitional context.
Justice Ishwor Khatiwada of the Supreme Court of Nepal reviewed the status of human rights guaranteed under the Constitution of Nepal. More than a thousand cases related to conflict-era human rights violations have been pending at different courts, and there was no law that restricts courts/judges from deciding the cases of human rights violations from conflict. The Government of Nepal had been refusing victims of conflict access to regular justice system arguing that they will be provided justice by transitional justice mechanisms. However, these promised TJ mechanisms had not been established even more than a decade and a half after signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), making commitments to create these mechanisms.
Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal highlighted that jurisprudence established by the Supreme Court mandated a robust role of the judiciary in assessing the implementation of its jurisprudence.
Mandira Sharma, ICJ Senior Legal Advisor, provided insights into the global context of transitional justice and discussed the challenges, lessons learned, and good practices.
High Court Judge Tek Prasad Dhungana, General Secretary of Judges Society Nepal presented the objectives of the dialogue, which was chaired by Mr. Baburam Regmi, Acting President of Judges Society Nepal and former High Court Judge and facilitated by Kathmandu District Court judge Raju Kumar Khatiwada.
Dr Mandira Sharma, ICJ Senior International Legal Adviser, t: +9779851048475, e: email@example.com
Kashiram Dhungana, ICJ Legal Adviser, Nepal, t: +9779851226964, e: firstname.lastname@example.orgWeb stories