Nepal | August 11, 2020

NCP urged to reconsider Sapkota’s nomination

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, January 25

The International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International jointly issued a press release today opposing the candidacy of Agni Prasad Sapkota for the post of speaker. These organisations urged the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to reconsider Sapkota’s candidacy.

NCP should reconsider Sapkota’s nomination as speaker of the Parliament until there is thorough and independent investigation, the organisations said.

Sapkota has been accused of involvement in the abduction and murder of Arjun Lama in 2005 in Kavre. The case is a subject of proceedings before the Supreme Court of Nepal.

“Nepal authorities should not appoint to high office people under investigation for human rights abuses, when they could interfere with investigation,” said Audrey Oettli, programme manager at TRIAL International.

“Such appointments are yet another illustration of the government’s unwillingness to demonstrate basic commitment to holding perpetrators of conflict-era rights abuses accountable.”

In March 2008, the Supreme Court directed the police to register a case against Sapkota for abducting and killing Lama and investigate. Police did not comply.

The organisations said that in 2010, Australia and the US rejected visa applications from Sapkota due to allegations of serious human rights violations.

These organisations reminded that when Sapkota was appointed information and communications minister in May 2011, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had issued a statement expressing concern, saying that states have a responsibility ‘to ensure that a person is fully cleared after thorough investigation before any appointment to a high public office is announced’.

“The government and political parties in Nepal are increasingly showing they are unwilling, even incapable of delivering truth, justice and reparations to conflict victims,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International. “Their signal of impunity will further push victims and activists to seek justice internationally under universal jurisdiction. Instead of putting those suspected of criminal responsibility into positions of power, the government should bring them to justice in fair trials.”

The organisations expressed concern about the decision appointing commissioners to the two transitional justice commissions without adequate consultations and without amending the legal framework to make it consistent with international human rights law and Supreme Court of Nepal rulings.

“Nepal’s leaders know a transparent process is essential to ensure justice and accountability for egregious rights violations during conflict, but they keep trying to protect those responsible for abuses,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “If the political leadership continues to evade responsibility, they leave little choice for victims, but to approach courts outside the country.”

On 18 January 2020, a committee formed by the government to recommend names for commissioners for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on the Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons submitted its nominations despite demands from victims’ groups and civil society that the government first amend the transitional justice legal framework to ensure that it complies with Nepal’s international obligations and is responsive to victims’ concerns.

The government should amend the 2014 Transitional Justice Act to make it consistent with the Supreme Court’s rulings and international human rights standards, the groups said.

“The government’s decision to carry out another rushed and secretive set of consultations fails to respect longstanding demands of victims and civil society,” said Frederick Rawski, ICJ’s Asia-Pacific director. “It also makes it very difficult to take seriously the statements of political leaders that they are committed to supporting a victim-centred and human rights compliant process.”


A version of this article appears in print on January 26, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

CIAA books Nepal Water Supply Corporation employee with bribe in Dhading

KATHMANDU: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has detained a government employee with a bribe of over Rs 1 million from Dhunibensi  Municipality-8 in Dhading district. The arrested, identified as engineer Santosh Sah, Chief of Nepal Water Supply Corporation, Butw Read More...

Trump end run around Congress raises questions on his claims

BRIDGEWATER: President Donald Trump’s end run around Congress on coronavirus relief is raising questions about whether it would give Americans the economic lifeline he claims and appears certain to face legal challenges. Democrats called it a pre-election ploy that would burden cash-strapped state Read More...

Department of Immigration, visa services

Department of Immigration halts visa services after a staffer tests positive for Covid-19

KATHMANDU: Department of Immigration (DoI) has halted its services from Monday until further notice after one of its employees was diagnosed with Covid-19. As there has been a steady rise in coronavirus-infection cases in many parts of the country, government offices have been conducting PCR test Read More...

Indonesia volcano spews huge ash cloud in second eruption in 3 days

JAKARTA: An Indonesian volcano spewed a giant ash cloud 5 km (3.1 miles) into the sky on Monday in its second eruption in three days, emitting a thunderous noise and turning the sky dark, authorities and witnesses said. The eruption of Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra comes after more th Read More...

Yemen's UNESCO-listed Old Sanaa houses collapse in heavy rains

SANAA: Houses in Yemen's UNESCO-listed Old City of Sanaa are collapsing under heavy rains, as months of floods and storms assail a country already reeling from war, food shortages and disease. The distinctive brown and white mud brick houses of Sanaa's historic neighbourhoods, which date from b Read More...

Blast destroyed landmark 19th-century palace in Beirut

BEIRUT: The 160-year-old palace withstood two world wars, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the French mandate and Lebanese independence. After the country's 1975-1990 civil war, it took 20 years of careful restoration for the family to bring the palace back to its former glory. "In a split second, Read More...

Improving agriculture extension service

Nepal’s vegetable sector holds great promise for generating employment and increasing the incomes of rural households. Vegetables are a major high-value crop in Nepal, contributing 9.7 per cent to the country’s GDP and providing subsistence to more than 3.2 million families. Over 5 lakh smallhol Read More...

Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee tests positive for COVID-19

KATHMANDU: Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee has tested positive for coronavirus infection. Mukherjee said that the virus was detected while he was on a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure and requested all of those who came into contact with him to isolate themselves and get Read More...