Litmus test for govt: Army Maj. Gen. Toran’s promotion could have repercussions
KAMAL RAJ SIGDEL
THE KATHMANDU POST, NOV 28 - The international community, concerned over the culture of impunity in Nepal, has been closely observing Maj. Gen. Toran Jung Bahadur Singh’s case as a ‘litmus test’ to correct its human rights records.
Singh, a senior Nepal Army official, was implicated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of serious human rights abuses, specifically for his role in the disappearance of 49 detainees from Bhairavnath Battalion, in 2003-04.
OHCHR has recommended Gen. Singh’s suspension pending investigation by a civilian authority. Rights defenders say if the government fails to take action now, it will lose a golden opportunity to set a healthy precedent, not only for
They observe that the government’s vacillation over the NA proposal to promote Singh as the Army’s second-in-command has only deepened the international community’s suspicion whether the Army is committed to right its human rights record. An alliance of 11 donor countries, which have strong leverage with the UN, has been pressing the government to set an example by initiating action against Singh.
OHCHR-Nepal chief Richard Bennett says ignoring the international community’s call could have serious ramifications for
Bennett is also of the opinion that NA’s institutional integrity should be preserved, but for that, he says, the institution needs to be accountable. He maintains that OHCHR recommendations are not made out of ‘personnel vendetta’ against either Gen. Singh or anyone else, including the Maoists.
The UN has delivered some strong messages already. Some senior NA officials, including Gen. Singh and Gen. Dilip Rayamajhi, have already been denied entry into UN service in
Other adverse impacts could include jeopardising NA’s military ties with influential UN member-states, as the
For their part, NA officials say they will accept any ‘fair’ decision of the government but action against any NA official has to follow ‘due legal procedure.’
As much as Gen. Singh’s case, human rights defenders cite another landmark case. NA’s continued failure to take action against Maj. Nirajan Basnet, charged for the murder of Maina Sunwar in Kavre, stands out. Much to human rights defenders’ dismay, Maj. Basnet has been deployed in a UN mission in
“That’s a pretty lame argument,” said an international human rights worker based in
(Originally printed at: http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2009/11/27/top-stories/Litmus-test-for-govt/2462/)