Call to punish rights violators

Kathmandu, April 27:

At a time when the country is in a state of transition and the hope for permanent peace is in the air, the challenge for the new government and Maoists, according to experts, is to live up to the people’s expectations. Peace is possible if the Parliament immediately passes a special resolution to try human rights perpetrators, they said.

“Now is the time for the new government to work towards introducing a special resolution to punish human rights violators from both the parties to conflict,” Bhimarjun Acharya, former president of the Constitutional Lawyers’ Forum, told this daily. The resolution should be introduced to try the violators with “retrospective effect” so that those who had previously committed violations can be brought to the book.

The government, according to him, also has an option to announce a comprehensive law concerning impunity. Punishing rights violators will strengthen the peace process, which could ultimately pave way for permanent peace in the country, he said adding that if such a mechanism is translated into action, individual cases of human rights violations could become history.

INSEC chairman Subodh Pyakurel also said the government should set up a mechanism to bring the rights violators to book. Both the security forces and the Maoists should take responsibility for their decade-long human rights violations, he said. He accused the RNA of having an “autocratic mindset” with zero tolerance to norms and values of human rights. The recent rape and murder of 22-year-old Sapana Gurung in Morang and the RNA’s aerial attack on Tanahun are the most recent examples of human rights violations, he said.

However, Brig Gen BA Kumar Sharma, the chief of RNA’s legal unit, said the army is committed to upholding human rights. “We will bring the guilty security personnel to book and pass on rape and murder cases of civilians to civilian courts,” he said, emphasising that the RNA had previously allowed such cases to be tried in civilian courts as per the military Act.

“We are waiting for the formation of the new government. We will abide by its policies just like we always have. Peace will prevail step by step,” he said.

Acharya said the RNA’s military law of allowing the civilian courts to take over murder and rape cases are yet to be implemented in practice.

“A few individual cases tried in the civilian courts have not been decided in favour of the civilian victims,” he added.