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Impunity Watch: Judiciary to issue blacklist of 300,000 absconders

KATHMANDU, FEB 23 - To address rising impunity, the judiciary has come up with a plan to crack down on the estimated 300,000 convicted criminals who are still on the loose. Officials said that the names of those eluding justice along with the fines and prison terms fixed for them would be posted on the Supreme Court’s (SC) website by mid-July.

All courts across the country are currently working with SC’s Judgment Execution Directorate (JED) to prepare a database of court judgments that are awaiting implementation. “Around 40,000 names have been registered so far, which means we are almost halfway through,” said JED Director General Mahendra Nath Upadhyaya. “We are hopeful of publishing the list by mid-July through different outlets,” added SC Registrar Ram Krishna Timilsena.

Over 100,000 court verdicts are unimplemented, leading to impunity for an average of three lawbreakers in each case and around 300,000 in total. Of them, only 300 have been arrested and sent to jail while around Rs. 200 million in fine has been collected in the last one year, according to JED’s latest statistics. SC’s annual report released on Monday stated that it is yet to raise Rs. 3.99 billion in fines and implement a total of 79,879 years of prison sentences issued against thousands of convicts.

Officials are hopeful that there will be significant progress in addressing impunity issues once the database is prepared. JED plans to make two types of blacklists: a simple list of defaulters which will be accessible to everyone, and an advanced list of defaulters containing detailed information to be made available to a certain number of government offices that serve or deal with a large number of clients. According to the plan, government offices with access to the database will refuse services to those clients who appear in the blacklist. “This will hopefully help us collect unpaid fines and arrest absconding convicts,” said JED Director Rajendra Kumar Acharya.

For the last one year, JED has been “manually” sharing the list of defaulters with certain government offices which have cooperated with the court in arresting absconding convicts.

Posted on: 2011-02-24 09:13

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