No attack on judiciary, govt tells UN body

- Post Report, Kathmandu
The Foreign Ministry confirms that it has replied to UN Special Rapporteur through Nepal’s Permanent Mission to Geneva

May 22, 2017-Defending the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, the government has written to the Geneva based UN human rights body that the move was constitutional.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Parliament and Minister for Foreign Affairs, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Diego García-Sayán had expressed concerns over the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Karki. 

Raising several questions over the impeachment, delay in transitional justice system, parties’ attempts to bring judiciary under their purview, García-Sayán had warned that he would take the matter up to the UN Security Council if Nepal did not take necessary steps to withdraw the impeachment.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it had replied to the UN Special Rapporteur through Nepal’s Permanent Mission to Geneva.

“We have already replied to the UN body on the matter,” Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat said, explaining that Nepal’s constitution has demarcated power to different state organs as per the separation of power and the court should not interfere in government’s decisions. 

“All state organs have respected to each other’s ambit, the letter to García-Sayán reads, after court tried to intervene the executive’s ambit, we had registered an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice which is constitutionally guaranteed.  

Condemning the government’s move to impeach Chief Justice Karki, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on May 5 had warned that such actions suggest ‘a concerted attempt by the government to undermine the independence of the judiciary’.

“Chief Justice Sushila Karki has been instrumental in a number of high-profile and politically sensitive decisions, and therefore the attempt to remove her gives rise to serious concerns about the Government’s commitment to transitional justice and the rule of law,” Zeid said in the letter. 

“We have mentioned that we have respected and understood the importance of democracy and human rights and as per the constitutional provision, the government in Nepal is moving as per the spirit.”

The government, in its response, has stated: “She has already been reinstated 

by Supreme Court’s order.” 

On May 5, the Supreme Court issued an interim order against an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Karki and directed the Legislature-Parliament to put the motion on hold.

The present government fully respect the separation of power and always stands for independence of judiciary, the government has said in its reply to the UN body. “It is not an attack or intervention against the court but a constitutional exercise.

“Two hundred forty-nine members of the Legislature-Parliament filed the motion of impeachment against the Chief Justice Sushila Karki (sic) pursuant to Clause(2) of Article 101 of the Constitution,” the letter said, alleging that Karki had 

interfered with the prerogatives of the executive while citing the court’s decision on appointment of the Nepal Police chief. 

“Manipulation of performance evaluation marks secured by police officials by false representation of undisputed facts to give basis for the judicial decision,” it said.

The basis and reason given for the impeachment are against the international norms and values and politically motivated, García-Sayán said in the letter, urging the Nepal government to take all necessary steps to keep judiciary independent and free from political intervention. 

“Such kind of practice (impeachment) is matter of worry for Nepal in coming days,” he said in the letter to the government, while urging the government to follow the constitutional norms and practices.

Published: 22-05-2017 07:34

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