It is a fact that, 5 years after the end of the conflict, not one single perpetrator of a conflict-era human rights violation has been brought to justice in a court of law. But Nepal‟s impunity has further implications than conflict-era prosecution simply being „on hold‟. Impunity for crimes has continued to the present day. Torture in state detention facilities is endemic and extremely difficult to prosecute (see page 10). Political interference in the application of law further weakens rule of law. Non-implementation of court orders makes a mockery of jus-tice (see cases on page 7). In such an environment, human rights defenders, journalists and victims who continue to raise cases and concerns are placed in a position of confrontation each time they do so.
Many put this continuing situation down to a distinct lack of political will. The Truth and Rec-onciliation Commission and the Commission on Disappearances – integral parts of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement – remain in draft form and seem to have been almost for-gotten by politicians. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has made numerous recommendations regarding both conflict-era and post-conflict crimes, but very few of these have been implemented by the government.
Throughout this publication, we take a closer look at impunity, the weak rule of law and the effects that these have on some of the HRDs with whom PBI works. These HRDs speak about the root causes of impunity and its effect on their day to day work, including height-ened risk for defending rights. They speak of the methods they use to try and improve the situation. There are clear links between the work of human rights defenders and the end of impunity. Without protection mechanisms, including strong rule of law and an engaged police force, HRDs remain vulnerable.
During Nepal‟s Universal Periodic Review session at the UN‟s Human Rights Council in January 2011, the Nepali government delayed its decision on signing up to three of the four recommendations pertaining to providing security for human rights defenders and journalists. It is particularly telling that these three recommendations the government is „considering‟ relate to the investigation and prosecution of violations against HRDs and journalists. The final decision on whether to accept these will be made in the June 2011 HRC session.
It is clear that HRDs and journalists need protection. If the government is seri-ous in its bid to address impunity, accepting these recommendations and implementing pro-tection mechanisms for HRDs is an important first step. Further steps must then be taken to create an environment where the rule of law is upheld and HRDs are seen as a support to the justice system rather than a dangerous challenge to the legal status quo.
See the full report: Justice denied: HRDs, impunity and the rule of law in Nepal