Chaulagain v Nepal

On the night of 12 February 2004, around fifty to sixty armed and uniformed members of the then Royal Nepal Army (RNA) conducted an operation in Ward No. 3, Pokhari Chauri Village Development Committee, Kavre District, Nepal. They were guided by an informant known to be a teacher in the village. At around 11pm, they first visited the house of Dilmaya Chaulagain and searched it for evidence of Maoist activity. When they found nothing of value to them they took her food and after an hour or so moved onto the house of 18-year old Subhadra Chaulagain.

The soldiers dragged Subhadra from her home by her hair and questioned her for over an hour about any Maoist activity she may know of. Four members of the RNA then took her out of the house in front of her father, called her a “slut” and verbally abused her. All four shot her in the stomach and face at point blank range. After this, four other members of the RNA stamped on and kicked her body. Subhadra’s father, who had witnessed the killing, was then taken to the same place where Subhadra was questioned. The RNA brutally tortured him with their rifle butts and kicked him with their boots while he was lying on the floor until they believed him to be dead.

On 8 December 2010 Subhadra's father, represented by Advocacy Forum Nepal and REDRESS, submitted a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee.  In March 2011 Nepal responded, challenging the admissibility of the case and arguing that it had taken action against the alleged perpetrators. 

The Committee decided to consider the admissibility and the merits of the communication separately, and the author provided a detailed response on admissibiliy in June 2011 showing that no remedy had been provided in this case.  In March 2012 the Committee upheld the author's arguments, finding the communication admissible, and requested Nepal to provide its response to the substance of the complaint.

Nepal filed its comments on the merits in April 2013, and the author provided his response in July 2013.  In July 2014, following the adoption of an act to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Nepal, the author provided a further update to the Committee, enclosing an analysis of the Act by Advocacy Forum, REDRESS and TRIAL, an OHCHR analysis of the Act, and a statement by UN special procedures mandate holders calling for amendment of the Act.

In January 2015, the Committee's views in the case were made public. These views were adopted at the Committee's 112nd session (7-31 October 2014). Despite arguments from the Government that the case had been the subject of court martial proceedings, the Committee found that Nepal had not effectively investigated the case, denying Subhadra and her family justice. The Committee urged Nepal to undertake an effective and complete investigation of the facts, the prosecution and punishment of those responsible, and the provision of full reparation to Subhadra's family.


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