Kumar Lama, Nepalese Colonel, was recruited into the Nepalese Army as a combat engineer in 1986 and has since served therein. During the Nepalese civil war he was a commander of the Gorusinghe barracks in Kapilvastu. Lama left Nepal after the political changes in 2006. In 2008, he applied for and was given indefinite rights to remain in the UK as a resident. The same year, he was convicted by the Kapilvastu district court in Nepal for torture as a result of which, his promotion was suspended for 15 months.
In 2011, Lama was transferred to the « disaster unit » under the Director General of Military Operations at the Army Headquarters and subsequently promoted to the rank of colonel. He served as a UN peace-keeper in Lebanon in 1991 and 1996 and in Sierra Leone in 2001. Lama also served in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
A victim of torture during the Nepalese civil war launched a complaint to the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command. Lama was claimed to be responsible for two separate incidents of torture allegedly committed between April and October 2005 on Janak Bahadur Raut and Karam Hussain, detainees at the Gorusinghe Army Barracks in Kapilvastu Nepal, suspected from supporting the Maoist movement.
As a result of these allegations and investigations, Lama was arrested on 3 January 2013 at his home in St Leonards-on-Sea near Hastings (United Kingdom), under Section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. This Act allows for universal jurisdiction and thus permits the UK to arrest and prosecute people accused of human rights abuses committed outside the UK. Nepal instructed its London embassy to submit a protest note to the British government demanding immediate release of Lama, claiming he was serving as a United Nations peacekeeper when arrested. As a response, the spokesperson of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Kieran Dwyer, confirmed that the United Nations Secretary General had waived Lama’s diplomatic immunity as a UN peacekeeper because the allegded crimes do not relate to Lama’s functions of an expert on mission and were allegdly committed before he was in function in the UN.