Govt move on Dekendra case taken to apex court

KATHMANDU, JAN 14 -

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Attorney General Mukti Pradhan’s instructions to halt court proceedings in journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa’s murder case was taken to the Supreme Court on Sunday.

In their writ petitions, human rights activist Govinda Prasad Sharma “Bandi,” the Democratic Lawyers’ Association (DLA) and the Nepal Press Union (NPU) said the government “deviated from its responsibility of guaranteeing free and fair investigations” when the Office of the Attorney General ordered the District Attorney’s Office and the Police Headquarters to halt the probe into Thapa’s murder.

The petitioners demanded nullification of the written instructions.

“The defendants’ move is illegal as well as criminal and it has hindered the justice delivery process,” Bandi argued in his writ. He said that as the five Maoist cadres arrested in connection with Thapa’s 2004 murder are “influential,” chances of them going scot-free are high. The Attorney General, the government’s chief legal advisor, on Friday instructed the district attorney and the police to halt further investigations into Thapa’s case and stop recording statements from the five accused. The OAG said conflict-era cases fall under the jurisdiction of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that is envisioned by the Interim Constitution of 2007 and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Bandi argued that the regular justice system functions in any democratic country until transitional justice mechanisms are set up.

The other writ filed jointly by the DLA and the NPU demanded PM Bhattarai and AG Pradhan be interrogated by the court and action taken against them for contempt of court. The writ claimed that the instructions from AG Pradhan and PM Bhattarai’s intervention in a case that is sub-judice are tantamount to contempt of court.

Thapa, a Dailekh-based journalist and human rights defender, was abducted, tortured and killed by cadres of the then CPN-Maoist.

Posted on: 2013-01-14 08:39