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Justice for Nepal's wartime abuses

Dec 16, 2011

The report Adding Insult to Injury: Continued Impunity for Wartime Abuses calls for the government to stand by its public commitments and international treaty obligations to conduct credible investigations and prosecute those responsible for wartime abuses in Nepal.

Adding Insult to Injury: Continued Impunity for Wartime Abuses
Published by: Human Rights Watch, Dec 2011

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The report follows three previous joint reports by Human Rights Watch and Advocacy Forum on impunity in Nepal and provides a detailed look at six emblematic cases of killings, disappearances, and torture. A separate appendix provides an update on the lack of progress in 62 wartime cases pending before the courts.

This report tells the stories of six people who have fought hard to bring to justice those responsible for their relative’s killing or disappearance amid these continuing attempts to avoid accountability. Among them are Karna Rasaili, father of Reena Rasaili, a 17-year-old girl who was raped and killed by soldiers in February 2004; Purnimaya Lama, wife of Arjun Lama, who was abducted by Maoists in April 2005; the late Jay Kishor Labh, father of Sanjeev Kumar Karna, a 25-year-old student who disappeared in October 2003; Devi Sunuwar, mother of Maina Sunuwar, a 15-year-old girl who died under torture in army custody in February 2004; and Yashoda Sharma, wife of Surya Prasad Sharma, who disappeared in January 2002.

This report also describes the fight for justice of Abdul Majid Dewan, father of Sahid Ullah Dewan, who was killed by police in October 2009. His story, and those of others like him, demonstrates that the refusal to hold perpetrators accountable for serious human rights violations could spill over from the past into the present, and impunity could become the norm.

In contrast to the repeated commitments expressed by Nepali authorities, impunity is becoming entrenched in Nepali society. There is a need to forge consensus among the political parties in order to bring the peace and constitution writing process to a satisfactory conclusion. However, this must not be done at the expense of justice and safeguarding the rights of the people of Nepal, or by denying justice to the families of the victims.

Human Rights Watch and Advocacy Forum called on the government of Nepal:

  • Make a clear and public commitment not to offer amnesties or pardons for serious human rights abuses
  • Vigorously investigate and prosecute all people responsible for wartime abuses, such as disappearances and killings, including members of the security forces and members of political parties
  • Set up a special investigation unit, under the oversight of the Attorney General’s Office, to investigate cases implicating the Nepal Army
  • Create an independent oversight body for the Nepal Police
  • Make non-compliance with court orders a serious offence
  • Ensure that an effective vetting system is in place for any members of the security forces who are proposed for promotion, overseas UN peacekeeping duties, or specialised training abroad
  • Establish the long promised commission of inquiry into disappearances and truth and reconciliation commission in line with international standards.
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