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.”

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