Try military cases in civil courts: Ian

Kathmandu, February 17:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights-Nepal chief Ian Martin has demanded that the military court cases be tried at the “civilian courts.” Urging both the warring factions to conflict to respect international humanitarian law, he said Nepal’s human rights situation is of great concern to the international community.

“We haven’t received any details concerning the Royal Nepalese Army’s court martial and court of inquiry procedures. Such cases should be dealt with in civilian courts instead of RNA courts,” he said. There are serious blots on Nepal’s human rights pattern, said Martin, expressing concern over arbitrary detentions. “I recently met the Home Minister but I was not given any assurances when all the detainees would be released,” he said at a programme organised by the Nepal Bar Association today.

He rued that the government does not have any policies to control vigilante groups that have been formed to defend Maoist atrocities. “We raised our concern about the vigilante groups. We were told that the government does not have any policy on the matter and that it has nothing do do with them,” said Martin.

Stating that the results of the upcoming UN convention in Geneva cannot be foretold, he said, “We don’t know what action will be taken concerning Nepal. The government can present its comments on the OHCHR’s report to the UN Commission of human rights.” OHCHR-Nepal, according to him, is in contact with the Maoists and had a “dual dialogue” with the Maoists as well as the government representatives. Although efforts by both sides to respect human rights are evident, human rights violations are a recurring trend.

Pointing out that the International Criminal Court in the Hague has no jurisdiction in Nepal, Martin pointed out the need for Nepal to ratify the Rome statute to be able to try Nepal’s cases at the ICC. However, Shambhu Thapa, president of the Nepal Bar Association said OHCHR-Nepal’s report to be presented on the upcoming UN convention has not mentioned the judicial body’s activities.