Thursday, May 31, 2007

ICJ Urges Govt to Review Civil Code Bill

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Wednesday wrote to Speaker Subas Nembang urging him to criminalise disappearances by making suitable changes in the Civil Code-1963 amendment bill.It also called upon the Speaker to prosecute those responsible for the disappearances in the past 10 years. It also urged the parliament to end impunity.In the letter, Secretary General of the ICJ, Nicolas Howen, recommended 23 changes in the bill.Stating that there are many flaws in the bill, the ICJ suggested promulgating an independent legislation to address the crime. It further suggested compensating families of the victims.The ICJ added that the definition of disappearance in Section 1 of the bill is not in conformity with the recognised definition of 'enforced disappearance' in international human rights laws.It also recommended a separate legislation on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of persons.Stating that there should not be a time limit while filing a case on missing persons, the ICJ said the time should commence from the moment the issue is first made public.The jurists' body also recommended national legislation barring amnesty for those involved in the disappearances.It also recommended trying those involved in disappearing persons in common law courts by avoiding military tribunals and allowing third parties with a legitimate interest to take legal recourse.It further suggested that Nepali courts be allowed to rely on circumstantial evidence.

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