Friday, September 22, 2006

Parliament endorses amended Army Act

The House of Representatives (HoR) unanimously passed the bill to amend the Army Act on Friday.

The amended Army Act formally ends the link between the king and Nepali Army (NA) that existed for the last 237 years. The King will no more be the Supreme Commanders of the armed forces that will be under the control of the government and the House of Representatives.

The new act has made provision for a special military court headed by an appellate court judge to look into criminal offence involving army personnel for, corruption, torture and disappearance. Other members of the court will be defence secretary and head of the NA's legal department.

As per the Act, appeals can be filed at the appellate court if challenging the decision given by the military court.

Similarly, the Public Service Commission will be involved in the appointment of senior army officers.

The army will be controlled and mobilised by the government on the recommendation of the National Security Council (NSC). Home Minister, Finance and Minister for Foreign Affairs are the members of the NSC, which is headed by Prime Minister. The Chief of Army the Staff will no more be the member of the NSC.

The new Act also replaces the king as patron of the Army Welfare Fund with the prime minister.

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