So the unnamed Nepali Man arrested by the UK police has been revealed to be former Nepal Army Colonel Kumar Lama who was currently deployed in the UN Peace Mission in Sudan. The officer was in London on his Christmas/New Year leave in order to meet his wife, a nurse by profession.
Kumar Lama has been charged with two offences of torture for which the Nepal Government has summoned the UK ambassador in Kathmandu to protest. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha have strongly objected to arrest of Lama. “The ambassador has assured to immediately convey our protest to his government. He [the envoy] has said that he won´t be able to tell me on other things. They have claimed that Lama was arrested as per their laws. But we have made our position clear,” Shrestha told in a press met after handing a protest note to the UK ambassador seeking immediate release of Kumar Lama.
Kumar Lama, 46, who was arrested yesterday by the UK police has been accused of intentionally inflicting “severe pain or suffering” on Janak Bahadur Raut between April 15 and May 1, 2005, and on Karam Hussain between April 15 and October 31, 2005 according to a statement released by the metropolitan police. He will appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
While British authorities claimed “universal jurisdiction” law to prosecute Kumar Lama; authorities in Nepal have said the arrest of Lama without prior information to the government goes against the international law and the “general principle of the jurisdiction of a sovereign country”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal has also directed the Embassy of Nepal in UK to hand over the protest note to UK government seeking release of Colonel Lama.
My take on the News Story:
I think our ministers should stop talking more and start doing as little as they can. The rising impunity in the country cannot be justified by any means. When the international law takes over, our minister has said that “preparations were under way to form a transitional justice mechanism in consensus with all political parties and Nepal government is committed to safeguarding and promoting human rights. ” Well if that was the case, I don’t think victims should have taken support of the UK law.
The truth is that our ministers failed to create credible transitional justice mechanisms to several human rights violence including torture, disappearance, abduction, rape and killing within the country over the past years after the decade long civil war came to an end in 2006.
Our country people have lost faith in our government laws and systems and it’s not surprising to hear from the victim saying that he expects to get justice from UK law that he didn’t get from his country.
This is not a mistake Narayan Kaji Shrestha, “the arrest is warning to those accused of serious crimes in Nepal that they cannot hide from the law forever” as precisely put forward by Human Rights watch. This is a warning to you (former Maoist rebels) and other the then state security forces that were involved in those UN recorded 2,500+ cases of torture. Beware!
Also do read my analysis on the news story – Nepali Citizen Arrested in the UK for Alleged War Crimes published on global voices.
What’s your view on the issue?