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Nepal: Government Ordered to Enact Law Against Excessive Use of Force

(May 2, 2008) On May 12, 2008, the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered the government to enact a law that would address human rights violations resulting from excessive use of force, and also provide for compensation for the victims. In drafting the law, the order further states, the government is to seek the help of experts.

The impetus for the order was a writ petition filed by families of victims of the Kotwada (Kalikot) massacre of November 2001, in which the army reportedly gunned down 17 innocent workers. The families turned to seek relief from the courts in 2007, after the government failed to provide compensation, to prosecute the army personnel involved, or to heed the Nepal National Human Rights Commission's recommendations to launch a probe into the incident and to compensate the victims' families.

According to the private Nepal news publication KANTIPUR , the country has been subject to many human rights abuses over the last couple of decades, during the democratic movement in 1990, the government's ten-year battle with insurgent Maoists, and the anti-monarchy democratic movement of April 2006, "due to excessive use of force by security personnel." The government's failure to compensate the victims on the one hand, and to bring the perpetrators to justice on the other, the publication asserts, have prompted "leading human rights activists to charge that it has promoted a culture of impunity in the country." (SC to Govt: Enact Law Against Excessive Force, eKANTIPUR.COM , May 13, 2008, available at