International Commission of Jurists urges Nepal to revise Criminal Code Bill draftThe International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has urged Nepal to revise its draft Criminal Code Bill in line with international human rights standards to ensure justice for victims of serious human rights violations.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has urged Nepal to revise its draft Criminal Code Bill in line with international human rights standards to ensure justice for victims of serious human rights violations.
In a briefing paper titled Serious Crimes in Nepal’s Criminal Code Bill, 2014, released on Wednesday, the ICJ has called on Nepal’s Parliament to make significant changes to the draft before it adopts the important legislation.
Evaluating the Criminal Code Bill, 2014, aimed at updating Nepal’s criminal law and codify new crimes, the ICJ has concluded that the Bill falls entirely short to include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide and its provisions in accordance with Nepal’s international obligations.
“While the Criminal Code Bill makes a nod towards addressing impunity for gross human rights violations, the draft law falls well short of what Nepal needs to do to hold abusers accountable for the grave offences,” said Nikhil Narayan, South Asia senior international legal adviser for the ICJ.
The briefing paper identifies several key shortcomings of the Bill, including an inadequate definition of the crime of enforced disappearance and the inappropriate inclusion of a statute of limitations for filing complaint(s) of enforced disappearance, which would necessarily lead to impunity.
In respect of the crime of rape, there were numerous shortcomings as to the definition, discriminatory provisions on penalties for marital versus non-marital rape, inadequate provisions for reparation to rape victims and inappropriate limitations periods for filing complaints of rape.
The ICJ briefing paper on the Criminal Code Bill is released at a time when the Legislative Committee of Parliament has approved the draft Bill based on its sub-committee report and intends to table it before the House for debate and vote.
“Many of the serious human rights abuses that systematically occurred during Nepal’s decade-long armed conflict have still not been criminalised under the country’s domestic law,” Narayan said. “This Criminal Code Bill is an opportunity for the Government of Nepal to demonstrate its commitment to ending the culture of impunity in the country by promulgating a strong law that ensures justice and accountability for serious crimes in line with its international human rights obligations,” he added.
In its paper, the ICJ has made several recommendations for revision of the Criminal Code Bill, including amending the definition of the enforced disappearances in line with Nepal’s international obligations and the Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) and revising the penalty
provisions to comply with relevant provision of the CED and other international standards.
It has also recommended for removing the statue of limitations for enforced disappearance case, amending the provisions on rape and sexual violence to ensure that they are gender neutral and maintaining consistent penalties for both marital and non-marital rape.