AG defends move to halt journo murder investigation
KATHMANDU, Jan 28: At a time when Attorney General (AG) Mukti Pradhan is under fire for halting investigation into murder of Dailekh-based journalist Dekendra Thapa, Pradhan has defended his move in the Supreme Court (SC).
Responding to the apex court´s order to furnish clarification, Pradhan on Sunday claimed that his move is in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) 2006 and the interim constitution. In his written clarification to the SC, the attorney general has acknowledged that he had sent letters to Dailekh District Attorney´s Office and District Police Office instructing them not to proceed with recording statements of the five accused of Thapa´s murder.
"I sent the letter in accordance with the CPA, interim constitution and international laws," Pradhan said in his clarification. He has maintained that article 33 (s) of the interim constitution and point 5.2.5 of the CPA allows him to do so.
Article 33 (s) of the interim constitution states that a high level Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will be formed to investigate into gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity during the course of the armed conflict.
Similarly, the CPA states that both the parties agree to form TRC to conduct investigation into cases of human rights violations during the conflict.
Pradhan, who is the chief legal advisor to the government, has argued that the case of Thapa can not be resolved under regular criminal laws stating that it falls under the jurisdiction of TRC.
Pradhan´s argument is contradictory to the SC order which states that the interim constitution has not guaranteed that action as per existing laws would not be taken against those accused of human rights violations during the insurgency.
Defending his move to obstruct the ongoing investigation, the attorney general has said that a similar practice has been exercised in about 25 countries across the world.
The SC on January 19 had ordered Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and AG Pradhan to appear in court within seven days to furnish clarification over the contempt of court charge. Bhattarai is yet to furnish his clarification.
Terming the attorney general´s move illegal, the SC on January 16 had ordered the Office of Attorney General not to obstruct the ongoing investigations into Thapa´s murder.
The SC had also ordered Dailekh District Police Office and the District Attorney´s Office not to halt investigations and to inform the apex court if there were any hurdle.