ICJ seeks revision of Nepal's Criminal Code Bill

KATHMANDU: The International Commission of Jurists on Wednesday demanded that the Criminal Code Bill of Nepal, which is under discussion at the Parliament currently, be revised.

Issuing a press statement today, the international human rights organisation said, "Nepal’s draft Criminal Code Bill must be revised in line with international human rights standards in order to ensure justice for victims of serious human rights violations."

The organisation has prepared a 35-page policy brief to explain shortcomings in the bill tabled for discussion in 2014 and made several recommendations for improvement.

“While the Criminal Code Bill makes a nod towards addressing impunity for gross human rights violations, the draft law falls well short of what Nepal needs to do to hold abusers accountable for the most serious crimes,” the statement quoted Nikhil Narayan, South Asia Senior International Legal Adviser for the ICJ.

“For instance, the bill fails entirely to include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,” he added.

“It is crucial that Nepal revise the Criminal Code Bill in line with international standards in order to ensure justice and accountability for victims of these grave offences.”

The ICJ recommendations include amending the definition of enforced disappearances in line with Nepal’s international obligations and the Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED); revising the penalty provisions in the Criminal Code Bill to comply with relevant provisions of the CED and other international standards; removing the statute of limitations for enforced disappearance cases; amending the provisions on rape and sexual violence to ensure that they are gender neutral, and that both perpetrators and victims can be male, female, or “third-gender” among others.