OHCHR wants troops to be accountable

Kathmandu, March 1:

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal today said the personnel of Royal Nepalese Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police must be held accountable of their actions against human rights.

“Members of Royal Nepalese Army, the Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police who commit human rights and humanitarian violations, including killings, torture and enforced disappearances, unlawful detention and excessive use of force, must be held accountable,” senior member of the OHCHR, David Johnson, said. He added civil courts have rarely exercised jurisdiction in such cases.

Johnson, speaking a programme organised to observe Nepal Bar Association’s Golden Jubilee Convention, cited that the RNA has consistently relied on provision of the Army Act that murder and rape committed “during a military operation” are not subject to the jurisdiction of civilian courts.

However, such a violation by their very nature should not be considered to have been committed while discharging military duties.

“Using such statements and jurisprudence, lawyers should take steps to push the police, the government attorneys and the courts to investigate, prosecute and try members of the security forces who have committed rights violations, and thereby prevent impunity.”

Johnson also expressed dissatisfaction over the failure to fulfil the commitment by the Maoist. “The Maoist party has made public assurances that it investigates breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights by its cadres, and deals with offenders, they have not until now made public the results of any of these investigations or action taken despite repeated calls from our office,” he added.

“If the commitments made by Maoist leadership are to be treated seriously, then transparency in these process and accountability of its cadre and leaders is critical step yet to be established,” he said.

Meanwhile, the NBA today formed a Welfare Fund of lawyers where numbers of lawyers have donated thousands of rupees. It also announced that its Legal Journalism Award -2062 would be given to reporter Balkrishna Basnet of Kantipur daily.