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Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias International Crisis Group 2004-02-17

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 ASIA Briefing
Kathmandu/Brussels, 17 February 2004
international
crisis group
NEPAL: DANGEROUS PLANS FOR VILLAGE MILITIAS
OVERVIEW
The Government of Nepal is creating local civilian
militias - known as Rural Volunteer Security Groups
and Peace Committees - in what risks becoming an
alarming escalation of its conflict with Maoist rebels.
Civilian militias are likely to become an untrained,
unaccountable and undisciplined armed force that
worsens a conflict that has already taken almost
9,000 lives. The scheme is controversial, and the
government has publicly denied that it has already
started distributing weapons despite evidence that it
is indeed going ahead.
If implemented, village militias are likely to have
serious and long-term consequences:
□ Their creation would force many villagers to
take sides in the conflict - something most
wish to avoid since it makes them targets for
violence from both sides and tears the already
worn social fabric, leaving lasting damage.
□ Mlitias are likely to receive only minimal
training, have little oversight and few controls,
thus leading to a worsening of human rights
problems. Massacres, abductions and illegal
imprisonments are already rife in Nepal, and
these problems will get worse.
□ Arming untrained villagers when regular
police forces are often under-armed and
under-trained is counter-productive.
□ Disarming and demobilising militias after
conflicts is extremely difficult. Eight years
after such forces were demobilised in
Guatemala, many are still active as criminal
groups.
□ Mlitias tend to mutate. A number of terrorist
networks have their origins in government-
linked militias or underground groups including
al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia and
Turkish Hizbollah. Given Nepal's complex
ethnic and social landscape,  creating new
armed movements is particularly ill-advised.
On 4 February 2004 one of the villages where local
people had been armed, Sudama, was attacked by a
large number of Maoists. ICG visited the village
while researching this briefing, and a detailed
description of its situation is given below. Although
the attack was repelled without any reported injuries
to civilians, it appears that the village was targeted
because of its reputation as a pilot location for the
militia program. This emphasises concerns that
arming civilians is likely to lead to increased violence.
II.  BACKGROUND
Conflict between the security forces and Maoists,
who launched their armed insurgency in February
1996, has become increasingly violent. Following
the Maoists' decision to withdraw from the seven-
month ceasefire in August 2003, the rate of killings
- the large majority by the state security forces,
especially the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) - has
increased significantly.1
The conflict traces its origins well back in time and
to a complex mix of social, economic and political
According to preliminary figures released by the
Kathmandu-based Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC),
deaths on all sides from 1996 through January 2004 totalled
8,826. During a press conference on 15 January 2004 RNA
spokesman Colonel Deepak Gurung stated that up to 1,400
Maoists, 177 members of the police forces and 111 army
personnel had been killed since the ceasefire ended on 27
August 2003. These figures indicate a significant escalation
of the conflict in recent months. In the period from the start
of the Maoist insurgency to the palace coup of 4 October
2002, per day killings by the Maoists and the state averaged
2.43; from 4 October 2002 to 30 January 2004, the average
was 6.38; since the collapse of the second ceasefire on 28
August 2003, the rate has reached 12.20 (according to
INSEC s data). In the latest period, 1,340 people were killed
by the state and 515 by the Maoists.
 Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias
ICG Asia Briefing Paper, 17 February 2004
Page 2
problems in the Kingdom. Poverty and a very weak
government, a lack of efforts to redress caste and
ethnic problems, a stalled transition from autocratic
to democratic rule and a tumultuous period of
political instability have all contributed to an
environment in which the Maoists have flourished.2
Both sides have carried out acts of extreme
violence, and human rights abuses have been
common across the country as increasingly civilians
are the main victims ofthe conflict.
The political situation has become much more
volatile in recent months. The most visible element
is a determined student protest movement that now
extends across the country to all its larger urban
centres. Student protests have been common in
Kathmandu, and there have been serious clashes
with the RNA. Media attention has focused closely
on the street violence. While there is little prospect
of a political solution at the moment, most analysts
believe that neither the Maoists nor the RNA can
win through military means.
III.   THE CREATION OF MILITIAS
Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa announced
plans to arm villagers to "help defend against
Maoists" in November 2003.3 The scheme was
included as a component of a unified command that
would merge all armed and law-enforcement forces
and give them "special powers". Mlitary sources
indicated to ICG that the government would arm
former servicemen and their families first and then
extend the experiment to the rest ofthe population.
The decision to arm civilians follows a broadening
ofthe conflict by the Maoists. In October 2003 ICG
noted expanded recruitment by the insurgents in
eastern Nepal and the Tarai.4 Neither the RNA nor
the Maoists have been able to defend all their
territory to date. Large swathes of the countryside
are controlled by one side or the other more or less
by default. On the government side, this territorial
weakness has been compounded by a centralised
command concept under which security forces have
2 See ICG Asia Report N°50. Nepal Backgrounder: Ceasefire
or Strategic Pause?, 10 April 2003.
3 Prime Minister Thapa unveiled the plan at a press
conference in Kathmandu on 4 November 2003.
4 See ICG Asia Briefing, Nepal: Back to the Gun, 22 October
2003.
been withdrawn from scattered outposts and
consolidated into one or two large bases per district.
By December 2003 RNA weapons had been
distributed in Sudama, a village in the eastern Tarai
district of Sarlahi some 125 kilometres from
Kathmandu. The village, which has a population of
about 5,000, is just four kilometres north of the
border with the Indian state of Bihar. Sudama's
population - predominantly higher caste Rajputs
and Tarai Brahmans and lower caste Dalits - is
representative of Nepal's Tarai plains. Sudama was
an ideal village from the government's point of
view in which to start the militia experiment
because it is home to a large number of serving and
retired police personnel and their families. It
became prominent in 2003 when villagers foiled a
Maoist attempt to kidnap the son of a local leader.
Twelve-bore shotguns and twenty rounds of
ammunition had already been distributed to ten
residents of Sudama in October 2003 in the presence
of the RNA's eastern division commander.5 The
RNA subsequently provided a week of training to
seventeen villagers in a nearby police station. Three
groups of villagers, always including one of the
armed men, were formed to patrol the village at
night.
The presence of the guns, however, produced fears
of an increased risk of Maoist attacks. The
insurgents have frequently raided the RNA and the
police to steal weapons, and the villagers believed
the guns made them an attractive target. "It would
have been better if the security services had set up a
base in the village to provide us with security", said
a community leader.6 According to the government,
the weapons were subsequently withdrawn from
Sudama. However, a very senior RNA officer
explained that they are taken out of the village each
morning but are redistributed at night. Recent
research in Sudama indicates that weapons are
indeed still in circulation.
On the night of 4 February 2004, some 60 to 70
Maoists attacked Sudama, targeting the house of
the former Village Development Committee
Chairman. Villagers returned fire, and RNA
reinforcements arrived one hour later to repulse the
attack. An RNA spokesman argued that this attack
demonstrated the need to arm villagers so they
' ICG interview, Sudama, 27 December 2003.
' ICG interview, Sudama, 27 December 2003.
 Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias
ICG Asia Briefing Paper, 17 February 2004
Page 3
could respond to Maoist attacks more effectively.7
However, he was at the same time reluctant to
confirm the extent to which the villagers had been
given weapons or indeed even whether the RNA
had received explicit orders from the government
about arming the local people.
The formation of a different type of militia,
composed of captured and allegedly reformed
Maoists, has received less media attention, but
reports quote RNA commanders as confirming they
have co-opted at least 39 Maoists into a "village
security force" to fight their former comrades.8
Military sources maintain these militias also are
unarmed.
The greatest factor galvanising support for the
Maoists and alienating the public from the
government has been the RNA's widespread use of
indiscriminate violence.9 As the government has
been unable to control its official forces, it seems
unreasonable to expect it to retain control of
informal forces, making their mutation into
criminal groups highly likely.10 An increase in
violent human rights abuses would almost certainly
risk a reduction in external aid, which already
accounts for 40 per cent ofthe national budget.
If larger numbers are recruited into the militias, the
result is likely to be harmful also for the already
weakened, labour-intensive rural economy, while
increased fighting could be expected to drive more
refugees into Kathmandu and across the border into
India11
The arming of civilian groups also raises the spectre
of ethnic conflict. Since the state has either not been
present in, or has recently withdrawn from, much of
the countryside, there are insufficient mechanisms
with which to resolve disputes. Few people have
access to the judicial system, and most regard it as
irredeemably corrupt. Without effective mechanisms
for settling disputes peacefully and with new
capacity to engage in deadly violence, disillusioned,
disenfranchised villagers may begin turning weapons
on each other during their frequent disputes over land
and water or the caste feuds and ethnic strife that
occur in most villages. In the longer term, the
nation's already strained ethnic tapestry could tear
either along RNA/Maoist lines or in a more complex
manifestation ofthe inequalities in Nepalese society.12
IV.    GOVERNMENT ARGUMENTS
Political leaders from the Nepali Congress and
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist
Leninist) have called for an immediate end to the
militia program, citing many of the reasons outlined
above.13 Some members of the donor community
have voiced strong reservations in private. While
King Gyanendra has not publicly expressed an
opinion, Prime Mnister Thapa's government has
offered assurances to its critics that the program is
only in the planning stages and/or that while it is
being implemented, no arms are being distributed.
The government has established a committee to
consider the implementation of the proposed
program. This committee has already reported to the
Prime Mnister but the contents have not been
published nor has the government made a public
statement on its current policy towards militias.
Despite suggestions that the program might be
quietly withdrawn, a number of ministers have
privately confirmed that it is already under way.14
In justification of the policy, government officials
typically point to Guatemala, Peru and India as
examples of countries that have successfully used
village defence forces to defeat insurgencies. These
examples are worth reviewing in more detail.
Between them, they illustrate the range of problems
that can result from the use of unaccountable militia
forces.
7 ICG interview, Kathmandu, 5 February 2004.
8 "Surrendered Maoists re-deployed in Nepal village security
forces", Rajdhani, 20 December 2003.
9 See ICG Asia Report N°50, Nepal Backgrounder: Ceasefire
- Soft Landing or Strategic Pause?, 10 April 2003.
10 In October 2003, ICG noted increasing reports of
violence, including harassment of NGOs, not for political
reasons but for extortion. See ICG Briefing, Nepal: Back to
the Gun, op. cit.
11 Ibid.
For further information on Nepal's ethnic, religious and
cultural divisions, see ICG Asia Report N°57, Nepal:
Obstacles to Peace, 17 June 2003. It details the increasingly
forceful assertion of religious and cultural identities by
Nepal's more than 60 caste and ethnic groups and the
disproportionate access to justice enjoyed by the minority
Bahun-Chhetri and Newar groups.
13 Kantipur, 3 January 2004.
14 ICG interview, Kathmandu, 9 November 2003.
 Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias
ICG Asia Briefing Paper, 17 February 2004
Page 4
A.    Guatemala
Voluntary Civilian Self-Defence Committees or
Civilian Self Defence Patrols (PAC, after the Spanish
acronym)15 were an integral part of the protracted
conflict in Guatemala in the 1980s and 1990s. PACs
expanded greatly under General Rios Montt, who
took power following a 1982 coup. They were
comprised of rural indigenous males essentially
drafted into a supposedly voluntary local security
service. Armed and violent, they were a major source
of insecurity throughout the country for over a
decade.16 Violations and atrocities directly attributed
to the PACs included massacres of women, children
and the elderly,17 as well as abductions, rapes, threats,
illegal tax collection and robberies. The national
legal system did not halt the depredations, essentially
because those committing them were both the
creation of and protected by the armed forces.18
PACs are also credited with having destroyed the
social fabric of indigenous populations in
Guatemala by forcing villagers to spy on each
other and fostering mistrust among formerly
peaceful clansmen; increasing discrimination
against indigenous people; and causing economic
deprivation by forcing citizens into patrols and
away from their productive work. The PACs often
included child soldiers because families sent boys
to fight rather than the heads of household.19
The groups have proved to be a persistent problem.
In October 2003, eight years after PACs were
formally disbanded, former members took hostages
in the town of Libertad to demand the government
pay them salaries for their work in the 1980s.20 In
December 2003 the UN responded positively to a
Patrullas de autodefensa civil or comites voluntaries de
autodefensa.
16 "Fourth Report on the Situation of Human Rights in
Guatemala",   Inter-American   Commission   on  Human
Rights, 1993, chapter vi, para. 1. Full report available at
www. cidh. oas. org/country rep/Guatemala93 eng/chapter. 6
.htm.
17 "Report ofthe United Nations Secretary General on Civil
Defence Forces", submitted to the Commission on Human
Rights, Fiftieth Session, Item 11(a), para. 14.
18 Written statement submitted by human rights advocates to
the Commission on Human Rights, Fiftieth Session, Agenda
Item 11, "Relationship between civil defence forces and human
rights violations - the situation in Guatemala", para. 11.
19 Ibid., paras. 9, 12, 13, 14, 15,17.
20 "Cuatro Periodistas de Prensa Libre rehenes de ex PAC
demandan pago del Gobierno", Prensalibre.com 27 October
2003.
request from the government to establish a
Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Groups
and Clandestine Security Organisations in Guatemala
(CICIACS) to help end the threat to stability from
their reappearance .21
B. Peru
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, 4,732 self-
defence committees (rondas campesinas) were
created in Peru to protect against terrorism,
particularly of the Shining Path, and ostensibly
against drug trafficking. By 1993 these committees,
armed and controlled by the military and security
forces, were active in all the major conflict areas.22
They operated with complete impunity, often killing
peasants and unarmed civilians whose alleged links
with the Shining Path guerrillas were not confirmed.
Subsequently, they have been tied to numerous
extrajudicial mass executions.23
Several studies of these committees describe them as
contributing to the spiral of violence in Peru, even if
aimed initially as a response to the Shining Path.24
The Peruvian army was more successful in tackling
the insurgents in the southern Andean regions of
Puno and Provincias Altas of Cuzco when the
military command adopted strategies that were
specifically aimed at protecting civilians rather than
targeting them as potential Shining Path. There were
also no rondas in this area unlike further north in the
country around Apurimac and Ayacucho where
violence continued for many years.
C. India
Village Defence Committees have had prominent
roles assisting security forces in Jammu and
Kashmir   since   their   creation   in   1998.25   The
21 "Agreement Between the United Nations and the
Government of Guatemala for the Establishment of a
Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Groups and
Clandestine Security Organizations in Guatemala
(CICIACS)", signed 7 January 2004. Text available at
www.un.org/News/dh/guatemala/ciciacs-eng.pdf.
22 "Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial,
Summary or Arbitrary Executions Following his Mission to
Pern", 1993.
23 "Report ofthe United Nations Secretary General", op. cit.
24 "Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Pern", Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights, 1993.
25 "J&K Gov't Creates 42 New Village Defence Committees",
The Statesman (India), 6 October 1998.
 Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias
ICG Asia Briefing Paper, 17 February 2004
Page 5
program is a good example of the significant
danger posed to civilians by groups without proper
military or logistical support. Several villages
appear to have been targeted by insurgents because
of the presence of weak militias, resulting in the
deaths of scores of civilians.26 The situation has
been exacerbated because the committees lack
suitable armament, relying mostly on cast-off
Indian Army .303 rifles.27
Since the mid-1990s, Indian security forces have
also been using a second type of militia in Jammu
and Kashmir: surrendered and captured militants
who operate as a state-sponsored counter-
insurgency "renegade" force, the best known being
Ikhwan-ul Muslimoon (Muslim Brotherhood). Their
unofficial status permits them to carry out brutal
operations with which the government would not
wish to be associated. Their record includes grave
human rights abuses, executions, disappearances,
torture and illegal detentions.28
The Indian government also used state-sponsored
militias during the 1986-1996 conflict with the
Khalistan separatist movement in Punjab.29 The
former Director General ofthe Punjab police, Julio
Ribeiro, has since discredited the policy he was
charged with implementing:
[The militia's] demands grew to an extent
where it was impossible to satisfy them within
our resources. Besides, they were very greedy
people, with a criminal tendency, who began
to prey on law-abiding, rich citizens on the
assumption that the police were indebted to
them and so would do nothing to stop them.30
Another senior Indian police official cautioned that
such a policy is unlikely to work unless the groups
are closely supervised, and there is a parallel
political strategy.31 Importantly, he noted that Indian
village militias were not established as an alternative
to regular police but were accompanied by a
strengthened presence of police posts and personnel.
In Nepal, however, there do not appear to be parallel
plans to re-establish police posts that have been
withdrawn during the conflict or to increase the
presence of other security forces alongside village
militias.
D.    Others
While uncontrolled and unaccountable civilian
militias have often worsened civil wars and delayed
the establishment of peace, some have presented
more complex dangers by mutating into terrorist
organisations. Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia had its
origins in various Islamic movements including some
supported by the former Suharto government in
Jakarta to counter the communist party.32 Turkish
Hizbollah, a group once used by Ankara in its fight
against the Kurdish PKK, has been linked to recent
bombings of Jewish and British targets in Istanbul.33
Al-Qaeda itself emerged from the international
mujahidin groups sponsored by Western and Arab
countries to fight against Soviet troops and the Soviet-
backed government in Afghanistan. Once unleashed,
these organisations have proved very difficult to
control.
RESPONSES
26 "Militants Kill 19 in Doda, Poonch", The Statesman
(India), 21 July 1999; "Eight Members of Village Defence
Force Killed By Militants", BBC Monitoring, 2 August 2000;
"Kashmir Militants Kill Five Village Defence Committee
Members", BBC Monitoring, 7 January 2002.
27 "Ultras' Guns for Village Guards", The Statesman (India),
7 August 1999.
28 "Behind the Kashmir Conflict: Abuses by Indian Security
Forces and Militant Groups Continue", Human Rights Watch
1999, available at www.hrw.org/reports/1999/Kashmir/
militias.htm.
29 R. Narayan Kumar and A. Singh, "Reduced to Ashes: The
Insurgency and Human Rights in Punjab", South Asia
Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu, 2003, p. 105. Full
report available at www. punjabjustice.org.
30 J. Ribeiro, Bullet for Bullet: My Life as a Police Officer
(Penguin Books, 1998), p. 349.
Reacting to news that the RNA had helped to set up
militias in Chulachuli village of Ham district, the
largest circulation Nepali language daily, Kantipur,
published a hard-hitting editorial on 24 December
2003:
ICG interview with former Punjab police chief K.P.S.
Gill, 16 December 2003.
32 See ICG Asia Report N°43, Indonesia Backgrounder:
How The Jemaah Islamiyah Terrorist Network Operates, 11
December 2002; ICG Asia Report N°63, Jemaah Islamiyah
in South East Asia: Damaged but Still Dangerous, 26
August 2003.
33 "Istanbul bombing suspects handed over to terror court",
The Independent, 25 November 2003.
 Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias
ICG Asia Briefing Paper, 17 February 2004
Page 6
Self-defence is a good thing. But the damage
done by arming civilians against armed rebels
who are fighting against the state can be
avoided if the unintended consequences of
such programs are seriously thought out in
time. Rather than distribute weapons now and
regret it later, steps should be taken after a
careful consideration of the consequences. If
what the human rights groups are saying about
the village and town defence committees is
true, then the government must immediately
stop the program to arm civilians.
The editorial's conclusion was unequivocal:
If well trained servicemen themselves
sometimes lose control when provided with
guns, how can we expect little trained, poor,
pessimistic villagers to remain under control
when armed with guns? This will only take
society towards more criminalisation, and the
innocent will always have to live under the
shadow ofthe gun.
Many donors are already concerned at the proposals
for creating local militias although little information
on their implementation has so far reached
Kathmandu. "Of course we totally oppose this plan
of arming villagers, but we had no idea it is actually
being implemented in some villages already", a
European diplomat based in Kathmandu told ICG.
The U.S. embassy in Kathmandu released an
official statement saying:
The U.S. mission is not providing either
material or moral support to the Village
Defence Force concept. Our information on
this plan remains limited and inconsistent,
possibly reflecting a lack of finality in
Government of Nepal thinking. While people
everywhere have a basic right to self-
defence, any such concept organised by a
government should conform to recognised
international standards, respect human rights,
be well organised, and include a well-
developed training component.34
Indeed, across the board, international officials
remain frustrated by the confusion surrounding the
government's handling ofthe Village Defence Forces
34 Statement from the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu to ICG
14 February 2004.
issue, and the government's often contradictory
statements regarding the militias has only heightened
concerns about their ability to carry out any such
plans within the norms of international human rights
standards.
In December 2003, a senior European diplomat
spoke to ICG on the subject: "While weapons
might be part of the solution to bring Maoists to
the negotiation table, arming villagers is a recipe
for disaster, and despite warning, the RNA has just
announced it will implement it in two villages in
the Tarai where allegedly local people have been
able to 'repel' Maoists".35
An official of an international NGO in Kathmandu
was similarly concerned: "Of course distributing
weapons to the people is a very dangerous step -
you let the genie out of the bottle and cannot put it
back".36 When the plans were first announced,
Amnesty International wrote to Prime Minister
Thapa to express grave concerns at the possible
consequences of arming civilians and drawing them
further into the conflict. It noted that, "without
appropriate supervision, training and clearly defined
mechanisms for accountability, there is a clear risk
that the creation of these groups could lead to an
increase in human rights violations carried out with
impunity".37
Although there are legitimate security concerns,
civilian militias are not the best way to tackle the
Maoist insurgency. Donors should caution the
Nepalese government against arming civilians.
Governments that support the RNA, in particular the
UK, the U.S. and India, should insist that it become
more accountable to the Nepalese people and respect
its obligations under the Geneva Conventions.38 The
35 ICG interview, Kathmandu, 7 December 2003.
36 ICG interview, Kathmandu, November 2003.
37 "Nepal: Civilians sucked into ongoing conflict", Amnesty
International Press Release 11 November 2003 (ASA
31/072/2003).
38 Common Article 3 ofthe Geneva Conventions states:
"In the case of armed conflict not of an international
character occurring in the territory of one of the High
Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound
to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including
members of armed forces who have laid down their arms
and those placed ' hors de combat ' by sickness, wounds,
detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be
treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded
on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any
other similar criteria.
 Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias
ICG Asia Briefing Paper, 17 February 2004
Page 7
government should not in effect subcontract some of
its security responsibilities to hard-to-control and
poorly trained militias.39
In order to achieve these objectives and end the
culture of impunity that has encouraged human
rights abuses and so alienated many Nepalese from
their government, donors should work to expand
civilian and judicial oversight of the armed forces.
Essential components of such a strategy include
support for:
□ human rights education programs for the
security forces;
□ expanded civil society monitoring and
mechanisms for improved civilian oversight
ofthe security forces;
□ better access for the International Committee
ofthe Red Cross (ICRC);
pressure on political and military leaders to
establish accountability within the security
forces; and
the Nepal National Human Rights
Commission's call for UN experts to assess
human rights abuses by both sides in the
conflict.40
Kathmandu/Brussels, 17 February 2004
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain
prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with
respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all
kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating
and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions
without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly
constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which
are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International
Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the
Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring
into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the
other provisions ofthe present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect
the legal status ofthe Parties to the conflict."
39 UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1994/67 on
Civil Defence Forces spells out standards pertaining to the
creation of such forces and recommends the following: "(a)
Civil defence forces shall only be deployed for the purpose of
self-defence; (b) Recruitment into them shall be voluntary and
shall be effectively controlled by public authorities; (c) Public
authorities shall supervise their training, arming, discipline
and operations; (d) Commanders shall have clear
responsibility for their activities; (e) Civil defence forces and
their commanders shall be clearly accountable for their
activities; (f) Offences involving human rights violations by
such forces shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the civilian
courts". Of course, the Maoists are also obliged to abide by
the Geneva Conventions or risk future prosecution for war
crimes.
For more details, see Amnesty International release on 20
November 2003 Nepal: "Escalating reports of human rights
violations must be examined by United Nations experts" at
http://web.amnesty.org/library/ index/engasa310832003.
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