Jit Man Basnet and Top Bahadur Basnet v. Nepal

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Refusal to Disclose Fate | Relatives as Victims | Effective Remedy | Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute | Deprivation of Liberty | Judicial Protection | Juridical Personality

Themes: Related Crimes | Characteristics of the Crime

Taking into account the particular circumstances of the case, the Committee made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to the victim's cousin due to the fact that during the period of the disappearance he took over the responsibility as head of the victim's family, that he and the victim had a very close relationship since they grew up living in the same house, and that he addressed himself to several authorities in order to establish the victim's whereabouts. The Committee also found a violation of the victim's right to liberty and security, as well as a violation of his right to be treated with humanity and dignity. Finally, the Committee found that the victim's enforced disappearance deprived him of the protection of the law and amounted to a failure to recognise him as a person, since he was subject to incommunciado detention for about eight months, his family was not provided with information concerning his whereabouts, and the authorities officially denied his detention by even moving and hiding him every time the ICRC or the National Human Rights Commission visited the barracks.

Judgment Date

October 29, 2014

Country

Nepal

Judicial Body

Human Rights Committee

Articles violated

Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 9 [ICCPR], Article 10(1) [ICCPR], Article 16 [ICCPR]

Facts of the Case

In the context of the state of emergency declared during the conflict taking place in the country, Mr. Jit Man Basnet, a human rights lawyer and journalist, was abducted in February 2004 by three persons wearing the Army’s uniform in front of his house. He was blindfolded, forced into an army vehicle and taken to the military barracks without being informed of the grounds for his arrest. For days, Mr. Basnet was questioned by the Army’s personnel and subjected to ill treatment. During the first night at the barracks, he received a phone call from a co-worker, and managed to tell him that he was in a “tense situation” before the guards cut off the phone. Mr. Basnet's family started to search for information about his whereabouts, without success. Mr. Basnet was detained for a total of 258 days, during which he was kept in inhuman conditions, tortured, and prevented from having any contact with the outside world. Detainees were moved and hidden in different areas of the barracks each time the ICRC or the National Human Rights Commission visited the barracks. In March 2004, Mr. Basnet was forced to sign a fake confession.

Despite their efforts, Mr. Basnet's family received contradicting information concerning his whereabouts, and was subjected to a number of threats. In October 2004, after his cousin managed to get into the barracks and meet him, Mr. Basnet was released. He was threatened, asked not to reveal information about the barracks, forced to sign a document and ordered to report to the Army every 15 days. In the following months, Mr. Basnet filed a petition requesting compensation for his illegal detention and made a statement about his detention conditions, after which he received a number of death threats. In January 2005, the National Human Rights Commission concluded that Mr. Basnet was illegally detained by the military and subjected to torture, asking the authorities to carry out an investigation to identify and sanction those responsible, and provide him with compensation. At the time of the communication, none of these measures had been taken. Despite a number of subsequent attempts by Mr. Basnet and his relatives, no investigation has been carried out and no one has been sanctioned.

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