Retired teacher actively involved in social activities disappeared in 2001
On 31 December 2001, on his way to see the Chief District Officer, Tej Bhandari was brutally arrested – without reason – by a group of men in uniforms that awaited him at the Manangay Chaitara bus station. He was beaten unconscious in front of bystanders and then handcuffed, blindfolded, and thrown into the back of a police van, taken to an undisclosed location and never seen again. Following his disappearance, members of the army and police force repeatedly broke into Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s home, threatened his wife, destroyed possessions, and stole money for a two-week period.
Read more: here
SEARCH FOR JUSTICE
Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s wife and son took several steps to locate him in the days following the arrest, but authorities denied that he had ever been detained, before admitting there was an investigation pending. In January 2002, Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s son reported his father’s disappearance to Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission, who made inquiries into Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s whereabouts. The Chief District Officer stated that he had been killed in crossfire following an attempted escape. Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s son, Ram Bhandari, filed two cases with the Supreme Court, receiving threats from army officers as a result, and was himself arrested and detained for a short period.
In December 2010, almost nine years after his father’s disappearance, Ram Kumar Bhandari, Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s son, filed an individual complaint with the Human Rights Committee, represented by TRIAL. The Human Rights Committee decided the case in October 2014.
The Human Rights Committee found Nepal responsible for the enforced disappearance of Tej Bahadur Bhandari. It condemned the State for failing to conduct an investigation or to prosecute and sanction the perpetrators of the crime. It further found that the anguish and stress suffered by Ram Kumar Bhandari as a result of his father’s disappearance amounts to a violation of the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.
Link to the decision: English
The Committee recommended that Nepal carry out a thorough and effective investigation into Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s disappearance and locate the his remains, which should be returned to his family, who should in turn be provided with detailed information on the results of any investigation. It further recommended that Nepal must prosecute, try and punish those responsible for the violations committed and provide compensation as well as adequate psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment to his family.
|Investigation of the facts||E|
|No criminal investigation has been carried out. Instead, the Government has said that the case will be considered by the non-judicial transitional justice mechanisms.|
|Information on investigation||C1|
|No investigation has been initiated and no information has been provided. Instead, the Government has said that the case will be considered by the non-judicial transitional justice mechanisms.|
|Location of the victim’s remains||C1|
|The victim’s remains have not been located or returned.|
|Prosecution of perpetrators||E|
|No person has been prosecuted in relation to the crime.|
|Providing adequate compensation||C1|
|Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s family received a small amount in “interim relief” as every family of an enforced disappearance, which was considered insufficient by the Human Rights Committee. Decisions on further remedies have been delegated to the non-judicial transitional justice mechanisms.|
|Providing psychological rehabilitation/medical treatment||C1|
|No psychological rehabilitation or medical treatment has been provided, with measures of reparation being referred to the non-judicial transitional justice mechanisms|
|Measures of non-repetition||C1|
|No changes have been made to the law regarding torture and enforced disappearance, which still do not constitute crimes under Nepalese law. The government has further said that it will protect Tej Bahadur Bhandari’s family from acts of reprisal or intimidation and develop measures to “control the recurrence of similar incidents in the future”.|
|Translation & dissemination||B2|
|The Government has translated the views but these have not been disseminated beyond publication on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office.|
* Note these are unofficial gradings as the Human Rights Committee has not yet commented on implementation
EFFORTS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
- Numerous letters sent to the Office of the Prime Minister, the National Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, on February and September 2015
- Meeting of Mr. Bhandariand/or his legal representatives with representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister, the National Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, on February, September, October and November 2015
- Follow-up report to the Human Rights Committee, October 2015
- Meeting of Mr. Bhandari’s legal representatives in Geneva (TRIAL) with the Human Rights Committee, November 2015
- Right to Information Application seeking information on implementation of the decision filed to the Office of Prime Minister, November 2015
- Follow-up report to the Human Rights Committee, December 2015