Blog de César Salgado

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Nepal: unpunished war crimes

Human Rights Watch publicou hai uns días un informe de 118 páxinas sobre asasinatos, “desaparicións” e torturas que tiveron lugar entre os anos 2002 e 2006 en Nepal, no contexto dun conflicto armado entre as forzas do Goberno e as guerrillas maoístas. O informe non é exhaustivo (algo moi difícil cando as dúas partes cometeron sistematicamente gravísimos abusos contra os Direitos Humanos), e leva por título “Waiting for Justice: Unpunished Crimes from Nepal’s Armed Conflict”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:

[…] During the 10-year-long “people’s war” declared by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M), an estimated 13,000 people were killed. The majority were killed by the security forces, but the CPN-M was also responsible for several thousand killings, including hundreds of civilians they suspected of being “enemies of the people” or providing information to the security forces. Both parties were responsible for the indiscriminate killing of civilians during attacks or armed “encounters” between them. To date, none of these killings have been adequately investigated by police and not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice before a civilian court.

Though other authorities such as the NHRC and a number of commissions of inquiry set up to investigate specific incidents have carried out thorough investigations of some cases and made recommendations for the prosecution of those responsible, the government has not acted on these recommendations. Under pressure, the army has held a few trials of alleged perpetrators in military courts, though the charges have borne little relationship to the gravity of the violations. The failure of Nepali authorities and the Maoists to adequately investigate or address grave human rights abuses by forces under their control is not only a violation of Nepal’s obligations under international law, but a serious obstacle to a lasting resolution of the country’s political and social disputes. A key challenge for the new Maoist-led government will be to address these failures, and bring the perpetrators of such abuses to justice.

To examine how the Nepali justice system responds to allegations of human rights abuses, in this report Human Rights Watch and Advocacy Forum examined 62 cases documented in 49 FIRs filed with the Nepal Police since June 2006. In all 62 cases, Advocacy Forum lawyers are assisting or have assisted the families in seeking justice for the crimes committed against their loved ones. Forty-seven of the FIRs were cases of alleged extrajudicial killings, “disappearances,” torture, or rape committed by security forces in the period between 2002 and 2006. The remaining two FIRs were cases of alleged killings by members of the CPN-M. Most of the FIRs name alleged perpetrators identified by eyewitnesses as well as the officers in charge of relevant army units implicated in the human rights violations, both directly and using the doctrine of command responsibility.

These 62 cases are not representative of human rights violations carried out in the conflict. Maoist forces have abducted, tortured, and killed civilians suspected of being “informers” or “enemies of the revolution.” They have extorted “donations” from villagers, recruited children as soldiers and in other conflict-related capacities, and abducted students for political indoctrination. In order to achieve the maximum deterrent effect on the population, the Maoists often executed their victims in public, forcing the victim’s relatives and other villagers to observe the killing. The executions were often preceded by horrendous torture and involved excruciating methods of killing, such as burning a victim alive or breaking the victim’s bones until he or she finally died. The Maoists at times kidnapped individuals for ransom or in order to compel a victim’s relative to resign from the security forces. Yet victims of their abuses or their relatives have so far been very reluctant to file complaints against them. It is a testimony to the fear the Maoists instilled in people that to date only two FIRs have been filed against them with police.

In examining the FIRs, Human Rights Watch and Advocacy Forum found a consistent pattern of de facto and de jure impunity. One of the largest obstacles to serious investigations is the ongoing powerful role of the two military forces—the Nepal Army and the CPN-M’s People’s Liberation Army when compared to civilian authorities. The Nepal Army has been and continues to be almost entirely unaccountable, despite a new Army Act of 2006 formally putting the army under civilian control. During the armed conflict, the security forces committed serious abuses without fear of punishment or prosecution. Between November 2003 and April 2006, the police operated under the unified command of the army. Subservient to the army, they felt powerless to investigate their superiors. While the law has changed, practices have not. Our interviews show that the police still identify closely with the army and continue to play an active role in ensuring impunity. […]

15 Setembro 2008 - Posted by | Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Nepal, Politics

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