Friday, September 15, 2006

Army court to be open to all

A senior army official said here Thursday that the Nepali Army (NA) would agree to keep its Military Court (MC) open to the press and ordinary citizens in the course of court-martial to "maintain transparency".

Attending a clause-wise discussion on the recently proposed NA Amendment Bill -2006 at a meeting of the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of the House of Representatives, Brigadier General BA Kumar Sharma said, "It can be made accessible for the press as we have expressed our commitment to work in tune with the changed context."

However, the MC will remain closed while taking decisions on crucial issues related to national security, public security and for the "protection" of victim's rights.

The SAC meeting, however, failed to reach any agreement to specify the jurisdiction of MC to bring criminal offences like individual or group extra-judicial killings, rape, theft, war crimes, crime against humanity and disappearance under the regular court.

As parliamentarian Gokarna Bista put forward the amendment widening the jurisdiction of the Supr-eme Court and Appellate Courts, General Sharma pleaded with MPs to consider the existing complexities within the military organization.

Later, MPs and NA representatives agreed to sort out the problem through a technical team on Friday.

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