The government has decided to promote Nepal Army (NA)’s five colonels, including Raju Basnet, implicated in forced disappearances of 49 Maoist cadres from Bhairavnath battalion during the insurgency, to the post of brigadier general, on Thursday.
A cabinet meeting held in Singha Durbar took a decision to this effect. Various national and international human rights organizations had been piling pressure against Basnet’s promotion citing his alleged role in the torture and disappearance cases.
As per the cabinet decision, the four other colonels are Prabhu Ram Sharma, Bijaya Dhowj Karki, Samir Shahi and Subarna Mahat.
Likewise, the meeting has also decided to promote six lieutenant colonels including Baburam Shrestha Arun Kumar Pal, Pradip Jaung KC, Santosh Dhakal and Niraj Paudel to the post of colonel
un news service
UN concerned over request to promote Nepalese military officer implicated in rights abuses
The United Nations human rights office today voiced concern over a reported request by the Nepalese Army to the Government to promote a senior military officer, Colonel Raju Basnet, implicated in serious crimes and human rights abuses.
“We urge the Government of Nepal to ensure that no further decisions regarding extension in tenures or promotions of officials implicated in such cases are taken until the completion of full, transparent and impartial investigations,” a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, told reporters in Geneva.
“Lack of accountability for army officials implicated in alleged past human rights violations not only damages the credibility of the Nepal Army but also sends a public message that undermines the rule of law in Nepal,” he added.
On 26 May 2006, OHCHR released the report of its investigation into the alleged arbitrary detention, torture and disappearance of persons at Maharajgunj Barracks, in Nepal, between 2003 and 2004. During the investigation, OHCHR received consistent, credible and corroborated testimony of arbitrary detention, torture and disappearances.
“Most of the hundreds of individuals who were arrested by the RNA [Nepal Army] in 2003 and detained for varying periods in Maharajgunj barracks were subjected to severe and prolonged ill-treatment and torture,” the report stated.
Throughout this period the barracks were under the control of the Bhairabnath Battalion, commanded by then-Lieutenant Colonel Raju Basnet – for whom the country’s military has reportedly requested a promotion to the rank of Brigadier-General.
Mr. Colville said that the human rights community, including the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal and OHCHR, has “repeatedly called for a credible, competent, impartial and fully independent investigation into the alleged violations committed in Maharajgunj Barracks and other similar incidents.”
He noted that the international community has also recommended that State personnel against whom there are credible allegations of involvement in human rights violations be suspended pending proper investigations.