UK court acquits Nepal Army's Col Kumar Lama of war crime
KATHMANDU: The Central Criminal Court in Old Bailey, London on Tuesday acquitted Nepal Army's Col Kumar Lama of charges of torture and human rights violation during Nepal's decade long bloody conflict.
The United Kingdom had arrested the senior official of Nepal Army from London during his personal visit on January 3, 2013. The Old Bailey had held the preliminary hearing in the case on January 24 the same year.
The Court 6 of Old Bailey issued the final verdict and closed the case today.
It has been learned that the Court 6 gave a clean chit to Col Lama for lack of evidences against him on torture charges.
"After the verdict, Col Lama cannot be challenged in any court in the United Kingdom again," a Nepali source in London told THT Online. "He is a free man now and can move to any place any time."
"Col Lama has not decided yet whether he would file for compensation," the source added.
Col Lama faced trial on charges of inflicting severe pains to two detainees during the height of Maoist insurgency in Nepal in 2005. He is the first person to be tried outside Nepal for alleged human rights violation and war crimes in Nepal under the universal jurisdiction.
Col Lama, who was deputed to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, was vacationing with his family in London when he was arrested.
Earlier in August, the jury at the Old Bailey acquitted Col Lama of one of the two counts of torture he faced for the mistreatment of Karam Hussain. The jury, however, had not issued any verdict for the acts of alleged torture committed against Janak Bahadur Raut.
Hussein and Raut were Maoist supporters who were allegedly tortured by the Nepal Army in detention at the Gorusinghe Barracks, where Col Lama was in charge.
Section 134(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, for which Col Kumar Lama had been charged:
134 (1) A public official or person in an official capacity, whatever his nationality, commits the offence of torture if in the United Kingdom or elsewhere he intentionally inflicts severe pain or suffering on another in the performance or purported performance of his official duties.