Expert call for revising torture bill

Published On: February 28, 2017 12:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 28: Legal experts have said that the Bill to Control Torture, Inhuman, Brutal and Disrespectful Acts 2016, which is currently on hold in parliament does not meet the international standards.

Addressing a talk program organized by Chevening Alumni Association of Nepal (CAAN) in the capital on Sunday, former attorney general Hari Phuyal said that victims of torture would be deprived of justice if the flaws in the current bill are not amended.
He said that the bill fails to fix the amount of compensation for the victims, and as a result the victims cannot claim reasonable compensation from the perpetrators. "Justice to the victims can be ensured only if the bill determined compensation amount," he said.

Phuyal said the bill is not clear on how to provide compensation to the victims in case he or she passes away before the court settles the case or the perpetrator is not in a position to pay compensation determined by the court.

He also emphasized the need to incorporate a provision in the bill to rehabilitate the victims. "The bill should include various other provisions including special medications and psychological counseling for the victims," he said. 

The government last August had tabled the bill to criminalize torture in parliament. Although the bill was forwarded to parliament's State Affairs Committee (SAC) for further discussions, it is currently on hold as there has not been any discussion on it.  

The bill has defined torture as physical and mental abuse by security forces of any person in their custody in the course of remand or criminal investigation. Among other things, the bill has criminalized such acts and proposed a five-year jail term for the perpetrators, including the official who orders the torture. 

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