Murdering Generals in Nepal Army Publicly Exposed
Posted by Ka Frank on January 5, 2010
This post was published on My Republica, January 5, 2009
Nepal Army & human rights
The Nepal Army has received yet another setback with the Supreme Court’s order to the government not to implement its decision to promote Major General Toran Jung Bahadur Singh till Sunday. Chief Justice Anup Raj Sharma has said the court will decide on Sunday whether or not to stop his promotion. The fact that the apex court has asked the government to defer implementation of its decision in itself points to the seriousness with which the court has taken the case.
It is still not certain if Singh had any hand in grave human rights violations at Bhairabnath Battalion where 49 Maoist detainees were allegedly taken out of army barracks and killed in the Shivapuri Jungles. Since Singh was commander of the 10th Brigade that controlled Bhairabnath Battalion when the alleged murders took place many have argued that he should be held responsible as someone in the chain of command. Singh’s case has now landed in the apex court and it will be interesting to see how it gets resolved.
But one thing is sure: The court order has once again tarnished the image of the army whose human rights record remains dubious at best. Singh´s case may be a complicated one and perhaps it first needs thorough investigation of the Bhairabnath incident, but the army has been reluctant to take up even more obvious cases of human rights violation.
Major Niranjan Basnet´s is one example. Basnet was indicted by Kavre District Court for his alleged role in the illegal detention and subsequent murder of a teen-aged girl, Maina Sunar, in 2004. Embarrassed, the UN´s peacekeeping operations in Chad sent Basnet back to Nepal after Republica published news of his whereabouts. Instead of handing him over to the court, the NA has started a court of inquiry into his dismissal from UN peacekeeping operations. This is just a time-buying tactic and gross violation of an order passed by a civilian court.
The army’s behavior has only bolstered the view that it somehow thinks itself as above the law. And this has weakened more moderate and rational views that the army should be held to account for any human rights violation but should also be kept away from political interference.
It´s unfortunate that the army is willing to compromise its international image and credibility to protect some dubious individuals. But here it´s not just the question of the army; instead, it´s more about the civilian leadership. By failing to compel the army to produce Basnet before a civilian court and cooperate in other cases of human rights violation the government is sending the wrong message that it’s unnecessarily appeasing the army. That’s bad for the government, bad for the army and bad for the country.