Safeguarding Human Rights in the Criminal Justice System in Nepal
- Project objectives
- Developmental benefits of the project
- Project outcomes
- Project activities
- Steering and advisory committees
- Project materials
The objective of this project is to improve understanding and knowledge of, and respect for, Nepal’s human rights law obligations amongst key actors in the criminal justice system in Nepal. The objective will be achieved by: (1) reviewing legal education in Nepal on human rights in the criminal justice system and formulating and disseminating a model curriculum; (2) training Nepalese police and prosecutors on human rights in the criminal justice system. These activities will be conducted by the Sydney Centre for International Law at the University of Sydney, in collaboration with the Kathmandu School of Law (KSL).
Developmental benefits of the project
The project has long-term and direct benefits for law and justice reform in Nepal. The insurgency and associated lawlessness have seriously undermined the criminal justice system in Nepal. Despite strong, formal legal protections for human rights in the justice system, in practice there are serious institutional weaknesses such as reliance on forced confessions, inhumane treatment in detention, sexual harassment by police, prolonged delays, lack of impartial investigations, lack of access to lawyers, and unfair trials, with particularly adverse impacts on marginalised groups such as dalits, the poor, women, the disabled and minorities. This project will strengthen the effective functioning of the justice system to address these weaknesses, and thus will have real impacts on the reduction of human rights abuses in Nepal. Further, it will address the culture of impunity for serious violations of human rights (including enforced disappearances, State-sanctioned killings, and torture) which is impeding post-conflict transition in Nepal and impairing the economic, political and social development of the Nepalese people – who are amongst the world’s poorest (with Nepal ranking 142 of 177 in UNDP’s Human Development Index). This project addresses the aims to strengthen law and justice, strengthen democratic systems and key institutions, and build their capacity to implement reform. The project fulfils a clear need in the partner country as despite significant government and donor support for rule of law initiatives in Nepal, investment in reform of legal education in criminal justice and human rights has been seriously neglected.
The primary mid-term developmental change that will be produced at the successful completion of this project will be a reduction in human rights violations by key actors in the criminal justice system (including police and prosecutors). Further, this action will improve awareness of avenues of accountability for violations which do occur; enhance public confidence in the justice system; and strengthen the effective functioning of the justice system in accordance with international legal standards. It will also significantly build the capacity of Kathmandu School of Law to further contribute to law and justice reform initiatives in Nepal, by equipping KSL staff with new skills, insights and legal materials concerning human rights education and training in Nepal.
i) Report and Model Curricula for Human Rights and Criminal Justice Education in Nepal: A systematic review of existing education on human rights in the criminal justice system in Nepal will culminate in the formulation of model legal curricula customised for the following key audiences: (a) law schools; (b) continuing legal education in the legal profession (lawyers and judges); and (c) professional legal education for police and prosecutors. Following publication, an advocacy strategy will widely disseminate and pursue the adoption of the model curricula.
ii) Train the Trainer Teaching Manual on Human Rights in the Criminal Justice System in Nepal: The ToT Teaching Manual will equip trainers to deliver a one-day training module to police and prosecutors on human rights in the criminal justice system in Nepal. The Manual will be linked to the Workshop Manual which will be the basis of the one-day training module. The Manual will be publicly available in English and Nepali and can be used as an ongoing teaching tool beyond the time frame of this project.
iii) 20 Nepali police and prosecutors trained in Train the Trainer (ToT) skills at one ToT workshop: The ToT Teaching Manual will provide the basis of instruction for a one day ToT training workshop for selected trainers drawn from among Nepali police and prosecutors. Participants from across Nepal will be carefully selected by the Project Steering Committee (of representatives from key government and professional stakeholders) on the basis of the demonstrated capacity of each participant to influence organisational change due to their position or leadership potential, their ability to effectively communicate, and their previous experience of teaching or instruction. The Sydney Centre will run the ToT, supported by KSL.
iv) Workshop Manual on Human Rights in the Criminal Justice System in Nepal: The Workshop Manual will be distributed to participants at the six one-day training workshops for police and prosecutors on human rights in the criminal justice system in Nepal. The Workshop Manual will be based on the principles of effective adult learning, including practical activities and problem solving scenarios, and be culturally appropriate and gender-sensitive. The Manual will also be made publicly available in English and Nepali and can be used as a tool in ongoing human rights training beyond the time frame of this project.
v) 80 Nepali police and 40 prosecutors trained in six workshops on Human Rights in the Criminal Justice System in Nepal: Trainers (assisted by expert mentors from the Sydney Centre and/or KSL) will deliver six workshops each to groups of 20 participants from the Nepali police and prosecutors. Participants will be drawn from a range of branches and geographical areas within police and prosecutors, and focus on participants with the capacity to effect organisational change and with demonstrated leadership qualities.
Steering and advisory committees
The Steering Committee will be constituted by the Professor In-Charge and the Director of Kathmandu School of Law, representatives of the Sydney Centre for International Law, and the following: (1) Registrar, Supreme Court of Nepal; (2) Deputy Attorney General of Nepal; (3) Director (AIGP), National Police Academy; (4) Faculty, National Judicial Academy; (5) Representative, Center for Legal Research and Resource Development; (6) Representative, National Human Rights Commission; (7) President, Nepal Bar Association; (8) Representative, Nepal Bar Council; (9) Representative, Nepal Forensic Society; (10) Director, Kathmandu School of Law; and (11) Dean of Law Faculty, Tribuhvan University. In addition, the expertise of the following will be drawn upon as needed: (12) a senior Supreme Court Judge; (13) representatives involved in human rights programs from the European Union, The Asia Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development; and (14) representatives of Legal Aid Organizations.
Our partner in this project is the Kathmandu School of Law.
Click here for the Review of Human Rights Education in the Criminal Justice System in Nepal: Curriculum Report (2009).
Click here for excerpts from the Law Enforcement Training Manual (Police and Prosecutors) 2009, produced by this project:
English (extracts only) (PDF)
Nepali (full version) (PDF)