Nepal | January 18, 2021

SC’s decision reaffirms need to amend transitional justice law: Rights bodies

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, May 1

The recent decision by Nepal’s Supreme Court to reject a petition by the government asking that it review its 2015 ruling against amnesties for grave conflict-era crimes is an important step in securing truth, justice, and reparations for thousands of victims of the country’s decade-long conflict, said Amnesty International, TRIAL International, the International Commission of Jurists and Human Rights Watch today.

The armed conflict between Maoist and government forces ended in 2006, but victims of serious abuses by both sides are still awaiting justice, accountability, and reparations.

The four organisations called upon the government to revise the 2014 Transitional Justice Act and ensure its implementation in accordance with the Supreme Court’s judgments to assure access to justice for the victims of conflict-era abuses.

Nepal’s transitional justice law, which was passed by the Parliament in April 2014, established Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons.

However, it contained provisions that could allow for amnesties even for crimes such as torture, including rape and other sexual violence and ill-treatment and enforced disappearance.

On 26 February 2015, the SC struck down the amnesty provisions and ordered the act to be amended accordingly. However, the government immediately petitioned to overturn the ruling.

The petition was rejected by the apex court on April 27.

“With the SC’s decision, there can be no further excuse for government backsliding on ensuring truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence. The government should immediately amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act-2014, in line with the Supreme Court’s orders and its own international obligations,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director at Amnesty International, in a joint press statement.

With its latest ruling, the Supreme Court has upheld the principle that there can be no amnesties for those suspected of criminal responsibility for crimes under international law and human rights violations.

More than 13 years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of November 2006 promised justice to the victims, no one has been held accountable for any conflict-era crimes.

“The request filed by the Nepal government to review the decision of the Supreme Court was another attempt to evade the real issue — accountability for mass human rights violations. We are delighted that the Supreme Court held its ground and reaffirmed the importance of fair and efficient transitional justice mechanisms,” said Cristina Cariello, head of Nepal Programme at TRIAL International.

“Over the past decade, the Supreme Court of Nepal has produced some of the most human rights compliant jurisprudence in South Asia. This petition cynically sought to have the court undermine its own judgement so that the government could sidestep its responsibility to provide accountability for conflict-related human rights violations,” said Frederick Rawski, ICJ Asia Pacific director. “The government has no excuse for not immediately amending the transitional justice legal framework so that it is consistent with the court’s jurisprudence and Nepal’s international legal obligations.”

An effective transitional justice system requires strong legal foundations consistent with international law and standards, and the political will to address the demands of victims of the conflict, the organisations said.

“When Nepal stood for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the government promised to uphold its human rights obligations, but three years later, as it seeks re-election, there has been nothing but impunity and evasion on transitional justice,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These are crimes under international law, subject to universal jurisdiction, and if justice is denied at home, victims may take their cases abroad.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

 


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

PM slams Dahal-Nepal faction’s ‘lie’

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 16 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli slammed the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar for spreading the rumour that he had met four justices of the Supreme Court. Addressing a gathering of his faction’s Province 1 chapter cadres in Kath Read More...

COVID vaccine supply, border issues discussed during FM's India visit

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 16 Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, who returned from his three-day India visit today, said that he sought supply of COVID-19 vaccines for essential sectors and India had kept Nepal on priority for supplying the vaccines. Talking to mediapersons upon arrival at Tribhu Read More...

NC stages demonstration in all local levels

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 16 The main opposition Nepali Congress today held demonstrations in all 753 local levels across the country against the government’s December 20 move to dissolve the House of Representative. Majority of senior leaders of the NC flayed the government for dissolving the Hous Read More...

Mount strikes as Chelsea edge 10-man Fulham

LONDON: A late goal from Mason Mount gave Chelsea a laboured 1-0 win at 10-man Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday, easing some of the pressure off their manager Frank Lampard. The result provisionally lifted Chelsea two places up to seventh on 29 points from 18 games, with South Read More...

Nepali Congress senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel

HoR dissolution anti-national, says NC leader Paudel

CHITWAN, JANUARY 16 Senior Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel today said that dissolution of the House of Representatives was a step against the nation and nationality. Addressing a mass meeting organised by Nepali Congress Bharatpur Metropolitan Committee in Bharatpur, Paudel said that Read More...

CM Raut casts doubt over apex court’s role

RAJBIRAJ, JANUARY 16 Province 2 Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut today said though the Supreme Court verdict should be acceptable, circumstances in which the Parliament was dissolved were suspicious. Addressing the 10th General Assembly of Saptari chapter of Federation of Nepali Journalists at Bana Read More...

Home Minister Thapa defends dissolution of Parliament

DHANKUTA, JANUARY 16 Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa said that dissolution of the Parliament was an imperative for the sake of political stability. Addressing a district-level meeting of party cadres in Dhankuta today, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader claimed that the prime minster h Read More...

Security tightened at border points in Banke

NEPALGUNJ, JANUARY 16 District Administration Office, Banke, has tightened security to prevent the possible spread of bird flu in Banke. The DAO took the decision after bird flu was found in different states of India. The DAO has banned import of birds and poultry-related items from India. Read More...