Legal Development in Nepal

Human Rights issues in Nepal

This news is taken from Nepalnews and you can access it here. The post says that while enacting any law, for example:Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the human rights issue should be the central focus and primary issue on the agenda.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has urged the Nepal government to ensure that laws related to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Disappearances Commission are adopted through regular democratic legislative processes and are not adopted by ordinance. The ICJ also reiterated that adoption of such legislation should follow broad based national consultation and should meet Nepal’s human rights obligations.

“In a democratic country, legislation of national importance should only be adopted following public debate, including by the country’s legislature”, said the ICJ in a release issued on Wednesday.

“The introduction of laws related to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Disappearances Commission via ordinance violates Nepal’s Supreme Court directives and the Interim Parliament’s instructions.”

While the ICJ welcomed steps taken by the government to begin consultation with civil society, including victims, it however expressed concern that “the consultation process has been insufficient in several areas including: the range and depth of issues discussed, the broadness of participation in the consultations, and the number and the geographical location of consultations.”

“To ensure national legitimacy legislation establishing transitional justice mechanisms requires broad based national consultation with all stake holders, particularly victims of the conflict and their families, during the drafting process”, the ICJ said, adding, “To combat the culture of impunity in Nepal it will be essential that the legislation addresses past gross violation of international human rights and humanitarian law including crimes against humanity and that the Commission has the necessary powers to recommend that Nepal’s criminal justice system bring the perpetrators identified by the Commissions to justice.”

On the same point, Kiran Chapagain, famous for reporting legal issues, writes in Kantipur that Truth and Reconciliation Commission Bill is being enacted soon. You can read the news here in Kantipur.

The government is making preparations to introduce through ordinance an anti-disappearance law and a commission on disappearances, something not desired by national and international human rights organizations.According to a highly-placed government source, a draft prepared by the Home Ministry after the December 7, 2007 agreement among the seven parties was recently sent to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for their reactions.

A draft of the ordinance obtained by the Post proposes a five-member commission on enforced disappearances but does not treat the act of disappearance as a crime. This means that the proposed draft ordinance does not fully comply with the June 1, 2007 Supreme Court ruling.

In a landmark verdict then on enforced disappearances, the apex court had issued strictures to the government requiring an act of disappearance to be

treated as a crime under any proposed anti-disappearance law.

“If such a law emphasizes only the investigation and does not treat the act of disappearance as a crime, it is useless,” said advocate Govinda Bandi, a member of the Detainee Probe Committee which was formed by the Supreme Court and which had helped the court to pass the June 1 verdict.

This is the fourth time the government has prepared the draft of an anti-disappearance law. Earlier efforts aborted after vehement criticism from both national and international human rights organizations.

The present move also has evoked concern at international human rights organizations like the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an organization working for justice and human rights.

In a statement issued from Geneva, ICJ urged the government Wednesday not to introduce through ordinance any law relating to a Disappearance Commission or a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“…a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Disappearances Commission are adopted through regular democratic legislative processes and are not adopted by ordinance,” ICJ said in the statement.

Besides, it has suggested the government adopt such legislation following broad-based national consultations and after meeting Nepal’s rights obligations.

ICJ further added that introduction of such laws via ordinance violates the Supreme Court’s directives and the Interim Parliament’s instructions.

The parliament, a couple of months ago, instructed Home Minister Krishna Sitoula to introduce the legislation only after holding extensive consultations.

When asked to comment on the government’s latest move to introduce anti-disappearance law, a senior Home Ministry official who preferred anonymity simply said, “We prepared the ordinance as per the agreement of the seven parties.”

Supreme Court Decision on MP’s Funds

Nepalnews reports here that Supreme Court has stayed the release of 1 Million Rs. to each MP before CA Election. The Report can be read here. But, I did not really understood the logic of SC. Nepalnews Reports that the two judge bench of SC held that the decision of SC is unconstitutional. But, why? on what Constitutional grounds? I wish someone will elaborate on this point.

SC quashes govt decision to give Rs 1 million to MPs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the government’s decision to provide each member of the interim parliament with Rs 1 million for development works in their constituencies.

A bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Kalyan Kumar Shrestha made the ruling, asking the government to put on hold the distribution of the money.

A group of lawyers had filed a writ petition challenging the decision to allocate Rs 1 million to MPs under the constituency development programme.

Describing the government’s decision as unconstitutional, the lawyers had argued that the money could be misused during the constituent assembly election.

On Monday, the seven-party Steering Committee had decided to halt the distribution of the money to the MPs until the polls.

Kantipur has also reported the news here. The report of the Kantipur is slightly elaborate and it says that the SC held so on the ground that implementation of the fund would breach the interim constitution as there is no such provision in the statute, and that the lawmakers also do not have specific electoral constituencies.

Terming as “unconstitutional” government’s controversial plan to distribute Rs 1 million to each members of the interim parliament for the constituency development programme, the Supreme Court Wednesday issued an interim order asking the government to immediately put on hold its programme.A division bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Kalyan Kumar Shrestha stated that implementation of the fund would breach the interim constitution as there is no such provision in the statute, and that the lawmakers also do not have specific electoral constituencies.

The apex court interim order further states that the fund could also influence the April 10 Constituent Assembly elections.

A group of 11 advocates had filed a writ petition against the programme a few days back.

However, it may be noted that a meeting of the steering committee of the ruling seven-party alliance had on Monday decided to stall the programme till the CA elections take place in the face of mounting criticism from the international community, the Election Commission and the Madhesi agitators.

On Sunday, the Election Commission had also asked the government put off the programme, concluding that it could influence the crucial vote.

Govt preparing to come up with toothless TRC

[Till Today, I was just copying some of the legal news from here and there, and was posting them here. From Today, I have tried to manage them in a good order and with Clear Source and if possible, with Author's Name. I will be discussing some of the legal, social and economical implications of these developments and news in my blog as comment from my side.]

This is a News Report taken from Nepalnews. For Original post, You can Click here. I have copied it below.

Even before forming the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a Commission to probe Disappeared persons, the government has inserted provisions in the respective draft acts, thereby effectively making them toothless, says a report.

Nepal Samacharpatra daily reports that the Peace and Reconstruction Ministry has given final touches to these draft acts, which could be introduced as an ordinance since the parliament is not sitting currently.

The daily adds that since responsible political leaders, high-level officials, and army officials could be implicated for war crimes and crimes related with forced disappearances, the Ministry has inserted provisions to provide them with amnesty.

A senior official at the Ministry, however, said that the government wanted to promote reconciliation. “The respective commissions themselves will probe who is guilty and who is not,” said Shyam Sundar Sharma, spokesperson of the Ministry.

On the other hand, rights activist Dr. Gopal Krishna Shiwakoti smells a rat in the whole process. He questions the intention of introducing such important legislations in the form of ordinance. This, he said, could further the culture of impunity.

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