Amnesty provision in Nepal TRC bill violates international law - Nepal

Amnesty provision in Nepal TRC bill violates international law

No Amnesty for criminals17 APRIL, 2014 – Kathmandu – Nepal who suffers from the 10 year long civil war since 1996 to 2006 has left thousands of people missing and hundreds been killed for nothing, planning to settle the commission to prove into unjust and civilian murders and torture both implemented by government security bodies and then guerrilla group Maoist. As government along with the Maoist and other underground groups are voicing for amnesty for all is denied by Int’l human rights bodies say amnesty provision in Nepal TRC bill violate international law.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists have urged Nepali lawmakers to reject problematic provisions of the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) bill introduced in parliament on April 9, 2014.

Issuing a statement in New York on Thursday, the three international rights watchdog expressed concern over the bills containing provisions for amnesty that violate international law despite a January 2 directive from the Nepali Supreme Court that the law must meet international legal standards.

“In particular, the bill retains language from a 2012 executive ordinance that permitted amnesty for crimes under international law committed during Nepal’s civil war. A landmark Supreme Court ruling rejected the ordinance, and explicitly directed the government to introduce a new bill in compliance with Nepal’s obligations under international law. Amnesty for gross human rights violations, such as those enumerated in the bill, is prohibited by international law,” they said in the statement.

Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific regional director at the International Commission of Jurists said that the Nepali government seems to have simply tabled a mildly reworked version of the 2012 ordinance despite the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment on transitional justice.

“This deliberately undermines the judiciary, and raises serious concerns over the government’s respect for the rule of law in Nepal,” he said.

On March 25, 2014, the government of Nepal announced it would present draft laws to establish the TRC and a commission of inquiry into disappearances within 15 days. An expert task force established by the government proposed revised language, but this text was not incorporated into the draft.

The current bill enumerates the serious human rights violations that would fall within the jurisdiction of the commission. These include murder, abduction, rape and sexual violence, forced evictions, and mental and physical torture. However, section 26 contains vague language that does not completely reject amnesty, leaving open the possibility that perpetrators of these crimes might instead benefit from an amnesty, according to the statement.

“It is baffling why the Nepali government would propose a bill that contains exactly the same troubling provision allowing those responsible for the most heinous crimes to go scoot free,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The government’s obligation is to ensure justice for the victims, not amnesty for the criminals.”

“Nepali legislators should unequivocally reject the problematic provisions of the bill and amend it to be consistent with the Supreme Court’s directive,” said Richard Bennett, Asia director at Amnesty International. “The bill as drafted makes a mockery of promises on justice and accountability made to victims as part of the peace agreement. Those who have suffered serious human rights abuses will effectively be stripped of their chance of redress.”