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Torture: Nepalese Colonel to face trial in UK over war crimes committed abroad

A senior Nepalese army officer, Colonel Kumar Lama, will face trial in a British court after being arrested last week at his East Sussex home by officers from the Metropolitan Police, who were acting on information provided by a third party.

Mr Lama was arrested and charged on two counts of inflicting severe pain or suffering on individuals during the Nepalese civil war in 2005.

The incidents are said to have occurred at the Gorusinghe Army Barracks in Nepal between April and May that year.

The Nepalese civil war started in February 1996 and was fought between government forces and communist 'Maoist' rebels. The aim of the Maoist uprising was to force the downfall of the Nepalese royal family turning Nepal into a 'People's Republic'.

The war ended in 2006 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, which allowed the Maoists a seat in government in return for their weapons being placed under international monitoring. After winning power in elections in 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal held a vote that overwhelmingly supported the end of the monarchy and the creation of a democratic republic.

Torture is not an offence in Nepal; however, the Colonel was arrested under section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 that makes torture by a public official an offence regardless of where in the world the offence was committed. Mr Lama is only the second person to be charged under this law.

Kate Maynard is the solicitor representing the complainant, who remains anonymous.

"This firm has worked very hard on a number of these cases and it is a source of great satisfaction to know that the UK takes seriously its international obligation to investigate and where appropriate to prosecute alleged crimes of this nature," she told The Independent.

The Nepalese Government has denounced the arrest as contrary to international law, and believes that Britain is breaching its sovereignty.

Source:

Man arrested in Sussex over Nepal civil war torture claims (The Independent)

Nepal's Colonel Kumar Lama charged in UK with torture (BBC News)