HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) today urged the government to investigate, not promote army colonel Raju Basnet who was implicated in dozens cases of enforced disappearance and torture.
Issuing a press release, the rights institutions asked the government to adopt a policy of not promoting anyone accused of human rights abuses until the allegations was investigated independently and transparently.
Basnet commanded the Bhairabnath Battalion in 2003, when systematic enforced disappearances and torture were alleged to have been committed by forces under his command at the battalion’s barracks.
Citing UN and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) investigations, they urged the government to respect human rights by not promoting him.
“The allegations against Colonel Basnet, his superiors, and those under his command in 2003 are very serious and backed by substantial and consistent evidence reported by the UN and Nepal’s own national human rights commission,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Not only has the Nepali army refused to prosecute or dismiss officers responsible for atrocities during the civil war, it is now adding insult to injury by promoting a notorious officer to the rank of general.”
“Many Nepalis had hoped the OHCHR report back in May 2006 would lead to the release of at least some of the ‘disappeared’,” stated Sam Zarifi, ICJ Asia-Pacific director. “Sadly, the families suffering from these and other alleged conflict-era crimes have received little respect for their rights from either side in the conflict. The Nepal government needs to fulfil its duty to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for these crimes.”