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NEPAL: NGOs call on ICC Assembly to urge Govt to ratify Rome Treaty

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nepal_2.jpgInformal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) on behalf of the National Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC), Nepal urged the 7th Assembly of the State Parties of the International Criminal Court delegates to actively encourage the government to accede to the treaty without further delay.

In a statement delivered to the Assembly on 15 November 2008, INSEC conveyed the belief of Nepali civil society that joining the ICC would indicate both nationally and internationally, that for the Nepal government justice and accountability are central elements to the rule of law and democratic governance.

In July 2006, House of Representative unanimously adopted a motion for the Government to accede to the Rome Statute. The statement expressed concern that since then there has been no major action in order to accede to the ICC treaty.

The statement reminded the Assembly that the government even set up an inter-ministerial task force that was designed to study the obligations and impact Nepal would incur by acceding to the Statute following the adoption of the motion.

The final report was submitted to the government in December 2006 but was not publicized among a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society. The NCICC asked the government to make the report public and take serious step towards becoming a state party to the treaty.

The statement added that former Prime Ministers, senior ministers of Nepal government and top leadership of most of the major political parties have reiterated their commitments to acceding to the ICC.

It stressed that despite this, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist which heads the current government and has largest number of members in the Constituent Assembly-was yet to officially issue their position on this matter and urged the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers to adopt a public stance on this issue.

Commitments such as good governance, ending impunity, establishing democratic system and practices and upholding the rule of law in the country are highlighted in formal historical documents including the Comprehensive Peace Accord of 2006, the Interim Constitution and the government's present policy and programme.

Recalling those commitments made by the political parties, Constituent Assembly and the Government for guaranteeing, the statement pointed out that in order to realise them, Nepal should stand firm and join this growing community of nations who has embraced the Rome Statute system.

Referring to a growing demand to address impunity during the political transition, INSEC statement made a point that immediate accession to the ICC treaty could largely contribute to direct the overall legal and institutional mechanisms towards ending the culture of impunity and ensuring a safer future.

Nepal's accession could assist Nepal's constitution making process by providing a wider framework for justice as set forth in the treaty, and could also open up improved options for early review of legislations, undertaking necessary steps to adopt relevant laws and policies, and creating foundations for institutional procedures and set up in the country.