Will Nepal’s King Be Charged With Crimes
Will Nepal’s King Be Charged With Crimes Against Humanity?
By D. Michael Van De Veer
May 6, 2006
Kathmandu, Nepal: In the 15-month Royal reign of terror beginning February 1, 2005, Nepalese King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah suspended all civil and democratic rights in the Hindu Kingdom and ruled from the Throne.
Claiming that parliamentary-democracy had failed to defeat the Maoist insurgents, the King unleashed the RNA (Royal Nepal Army) and the Armed Police Force on the people of Nepal. Kathmandu, the ancient Capital, was wrapped with razor-wire, virtually every large intersection was reinforced with sandbags for Police bunkers, and checkpoints encircled the city. Drunken Police often stopped motorists demanding bribes.
The RNA rampaged in the name of defeating the Maoists, and International Human Rights Organizations including; Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN Commission on Human Rights condemned the RNA for extrajudicial arrests, kidnapping, torture, rape, and disappearances.
The FNJ (Federation of Nepalese Journalists) in a report, stated that during the 15-month Royal reign of terror, 2 journalists were killed, 88 tortured, 11 abducted, 282 attacked, 707 arrested, 250 journalists lost their jobs, and 108 newspapers were forced to close.
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) in its Annual Report documented that 50% of all cases of censorship worldwide occurred in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal.
FM radio was almost totally shut down and the Police and Army attacked FM stations seizing their equipment and beating and arresting employees.
In November of 2005 representatives of the Seven Democratic Parties(SPA) met in New Deli with the Maoists to hammer out a 12-Point Agreement that would create an environment that allowed the Maoists to join in the democratic process and bring the RNA and Maoist Army under the UN or any other appropriate International Organization.
King Gyanendra’s hand-picked officials denounced the 12-Point Agreement as collaboration with the Maoists and declared war against the unarmed Pro-Democracy forces.
The Times of India, 3/21/06, reported a video secretly taped from a Kathmandu rooftop shows unbridled Police-brutality. Riot Police in complete riot-gear “ baton-lashed and kicked unarmed Pro-Democracy protesters even after they were arrested.”
In the 19-day General Strike beginning on April 9, 2006 called by the 7-Parties and supported by the Maoists to restore democracy and implement the 12-point Plan, democratic forces throughout the country began a popular uprising.
A Shoot-to-Kill-Curfew was imposed in Kathmandu, and each day throughout the Kingdom the RNA and Police became more vicious. In the first daysfourteen people were killed and the hospitals were overflowing with injured and dying civilians. Children were attacked, tear-gas and rubber & live bullets were used against unarmed civilians, houses were invaded, and a civilian’s eye was gouged-out by an out of control police oficer while seeking medical treatment.. Foreign Doctors treating the injured were expelled from the country. Garbage filled the streets and virtually all shops were closed.
In Kathmandu there were shortages of food, water, medicine, and all necessities.
By April 24 Kathmandu was ringed with 2-million Pro-Democracy demonstrators who planned to march on the Palace on the 25th.
Faced with the certainty of a bloodbath, before midnight on the 24th of April the beleaguered King went on National radio and TV and ended the 15-month Reign-of-Terror, relinquished absolute power and reinstated the parliament that had laid dormant for four years.
The Maoists declared a cease-fire and the reinstated Parliament has been quick to withdraw the Red Corner Notices and terrorist-tag against the Maoists, declared a Government cease-fire and invite the Maoists to the Peace-Table.
On April 18, three International Human Rights Organizations, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, and Human Rights Watch, in a meeting convened by the Swiss Government in Geneva, called on the United Nations Security Council to put the human rights crisis in Nepal on its agenda, and to impose a global regime of targeted sanctions against Senior Nepali officials. The sanctions include refusal to enter any other country and to have personal assets outside Nepal frozen.
.... “the sanctions should target those directly responsible for setting or implementing abusive policies including”, King Gyanendra, Vice Chairman Tulsi Giri, Home Minister Karmal Thapa, Justice Minister Nirajan Thapa, Information Minister Srish Shamasher Rana, Army Chief General Pyar Jung Thapa, Inspector General of Police Shyam Thapa,, and the Inspector General of the Armed Police Force Shahabir Thapa.
With the precedent of the International Criminal Tribunal established by the UN in 1993, with jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes-against-humanity, General Pinochet’s capture and trials in Spain and the UK, which established that “acts performed as head of state are not exempt from prosecution,” and that acts of state-sponsored violence committed in exercise of Sovereign authority, can be prosecuted.
In 2002 the UN War Crimes tribunal approved a Special Court for Sierra Leone to try those responsible for crimes committed in the Liberian Civil War and those involved in Crimes against Humanity in Sierra Leone. The former Liberian Dictator, Charles Taylor, was recently captured from his comfortable exile in Nigeria and waits in a Sierra Leone prison to be tried in Freetown or the Hague.
In Nepal, the reinstated House of Representatives passed a motion to immediately take action against those involved in suppressing the Democratic Movement, and to probe atrocities against peaceful demonstrators and a “departure ban” has been placed on Tulsi Giri, Karmal Thapa, Sarad Chandra Shah, and Shrisha Shumsher Rana, and other unnamed officials.
If the Nepalese House cannot or will not arrest and try those involved in Crimes Against Humanity , it will be left to the International Community to prosecute those involved in criminal acts against Nepalese civilians.
D. Michael Van De Veer-Freelance
Contributor to UnitedWeBlog-Voice of Democratic Nepal &
Pacifica’s Free Speech Radio News
Member SAJA(South Asian Journalist Association)
Host; OUT OF THE BOX KKCR FM www.kkcr.or
P. O Box :21218, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
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