Universal jurisdiction case dismissed against Kumar Lama

07.09.2016 ( Last modified: 03.11.2016 )

Nepalese colonel Kumar Lama has been acquitted of the charges of torture he faced in the United Kingdom.

On 6 September 2016, after a 3-years legal battle, the UK Crown Prosecution Service decided against re-trying M. Kumar Lama after a jury failed to reach a verdict last August. The former colonel of the Nepalese army has been cleared of all charges.

This outcome is a disappointment for the victim who had brought evidence on the torture he endured, but also for countless Nepalese victims of torture seeking justice and the NGOs defending them.

Kumar Lama was the first serving security officer to be arrested and tried outside Nepal for crimes committed during the 1996-2006 civil war, under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Silver lining

Nevertheless, the fact that a senior foreign military figure was arrested and prosecuted in a third country is a significant step forward. TRIAL International welcomes the United Kingdom’s commitment to its international obligations and hopes that this precedent will soon be followed by more universal jurisdiction cases – be there on Nepal or other countries.

This case is also an opportunity to call on Nepal to end impunity for suspects of international crimes. It is high time the State met its obligations to investigate cases of torture and enforced disappearances.

Read TRIAL International’s annual report on universal jurisdiction

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