Nepal: The Role of Judges and Prosecutors

Thursday, July 1, 2010

From 18 to 22 June 2010, the APT was in Kathmandu, Nepal, for activities aimed at strengthening the role of judges and prosecutors in the prevention of torture. Traveling with the APT as expert trainer was Mr. Ales Butala, Supreme State Prosecutor of Slovenia and former member of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

Date: 18 - 22 June 2010
Place: Kathmandu, Nepal
Purpose: From 18 to 22 June 2010, the APT was in Kathmandu, Nepal, for activities aimed at strengthening the role of judges and prosecutors in the prevention of torture. Traveling with the APT as expert trainer was Mr. Ales Butala, Supreme State Prosecutor of Slovenia and former member of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture.
Partners: Advocacy Forum
National Judicial Academy
Activities: On 19 June 2010, the APT held a workshop for 25 district and appellate court judges on torture prevention, jointly with Advocacy Forum and the National Judicial Academy of Nepal. The workshop focused on the role of judges in ensuring the respect for safeguards in detention, the exclusion of evidence obtained through torture and responding to allegations of torture. As well as Mr. Ales Butalav and staff from APT and Advocacy Forum, Supreme Court Justice Kalyan Shrestha took part as resource person in the training.

On 21 June 2010, the APT and Advocacy Forum launched the Essex University manual on combating torture for judges and prosecutors in Nepali. The Chief Guest, the Attorney General of Nepal, inaugurated the manual and emphasized its importance for relevant actors in the country. The Attorney General’s Office will disseminate the manual to each public prosecutors office in Nepal.

On the same day, a consultation meeting was held on implementation of the standards and practices of the manual in the Nepali context. Participants included around 25 members of the criminal justice system (Public Prosecutors, Police, Chief District Officers, representatives of the Attorney Generals Office), defense lawyers, civil society and torture survivors. The meeting focused on practical ways in which judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and NGOs could strengthen the respect for safeguards in detention against torture and discussed whether investigations and prosecutions of torture was possible under the existing Nepali legal framework.

This was the first workshop for the judiciary in Nepal focusing on their role in preventing torture.

While in Nepal, the APT also attended a meeting on the occasion of the international day in support of victims of torture (26 June), organized by NHRC, INSEC, Advocacy Forum and OHCHR in Nepalgunj, Mid-Western District of Nepal.
Outcome:
  • Judges who participated in the workshop are aware of international standards and practices on torture prevention. They identified ways in which they can contribute to torture prevention in Nepal.
  • The National Judicial Academy of Nepal is committed to continuing with workshops on torture prevention for judges. APT and Advocacy Forum will support the NJA on this.
  • The Essex manual was launched in Nepali and will be disseminated to all judges and public prosecutors offices in Nepal.
  • The consultation meeting on implementation on ‘Combating Torture: A Manual for Judges and Prosecutors’ identified specific ways in which judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and civil society can contribute to preventing torture in Nepal, in particular through ensuring the respect for safeguards against torture. The outcome document will be circulated among stakeholders.
Next Steps:
  • Continuing collaboration with the National Judicial Academy on workshops for judges on their role in preventing torture.
  • Disseminate outcome document of consultation meeting on the implementation of the Essex manual on combating torture for judges and prosecutors.
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Contact Persons:

Jem Stevens, APT Asia-Pacific Programme Officer

Adam Fletcher, APT Legal Adviser