Sarita Sharma


Enforced disappearance and torture of young woman in 2003.

FACTS

Sarita Sharma – (c) TRIAL International

On 20 October 2003, Mrs Sharma was arrested in the neighborhood of Chandol, Kathmandu by members of the security forces wearing civilian clothes.

With one of her friends, she was handcuffed, blindfolded, forced into a military van and taken to the Maharajgunj barracks, which were at that time the headquarters of the Bhairabnath Battalion of the Royal Nepal Army. She was held incommunicado and her detention was unacknowledged until August 2004.

While actively concealing her fate and whereabouts, Nepalese authorities denied any involvement in her disappearance. In 2004, when she was brought to the army hospital due to critical health conditions she ran into one of her friends and managed to give her a letter and make her whereabouts public.

Even if her disappearance came to an end, Mrs Sharma’s arbitrary detention  was further prolonged and the army brought her back to Maharajgunj, where she was held until 30 June 2005.

Read more: here

Procedure

After repeated attempt by her husband to find her and two petition of habeas corpus to the Supreme Court, that quashed the first one due to the state authorities’ denial of its involvement in Mrs Sharma’s disappearance. The second one led the Supreme Court to declare Mrs Sharma’s detention unlawful and order her liberation on 28 June 2005.

In spite of numerous efforts undertaken by Mrs Sarita Sharma, more than 8 years after her release no prompt and thorough investigation has been carried out by Nepalese authorities and no one was prosecuted, judged and sanctioned for the violations of the rights of Mrs Sarita Sharma.

In December 2013, represented by TRIAL International, Sarita Sharma submitted an individual communication to the Human Rights Committee.

In April 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a decision on the communication finding Nepal responsible for the violation of the right to life, the prohibition of torture, the right to liberty and security of person and the right to recognition as a person before the law.

Link to the decision: English

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee recommended that Nepal carry out a thorough and effective investigation into the facts surrounding the detention of Mrs Sharma, to prosecute and punish the perpetrators and to provide Mrs Sharma with adequate measures of reparation for the harm suffered.

Investigation into the facts of the case, prosecution and sanctions of the perpetrators  E
Nepal has failed to adopt measures with regard to the investigation, prosecution and sanction of those responsible. Nepal continues arguing that investigation into conflict-related crimes must be carried out by transitional justice bodies in spite of the well-established case law of the Committee that holds that transitional justice mechanisms cannot replace judicial remedies in cases of gross human rights violations. 
Information on the investigation.D
 No information on the progress of the investigation has been provided to the authors. 
Adequate and necessary psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment.D
No measures have been adopted to implement the Committee’s recommendation regarding the provision of adequate psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment.
Provision of adequate compensationD
Although the government considers support of the interim relief as compensation, such support cannot replace the compensation victims should receive. Ms. Sharma has not received any form of compensation for the harm suffered. 
Appropriate measures of satisfactionD
 The author has not received any measure on satisfaction. 
Amendment of domestic legislation on enforced disappearance and torture.D
 Albeit the new Criminal Code (entered into force in 2018) codifies the autonomous offences of torture and enforced disappearance, the definitions of the crimes enshrined therein and the corresponding regulation – concerning, for instance, statutes of limitation and compensation – remains at odds with international law. 
Translation & disseminationD
 There is no information on any steps undertaken by Nepalese authorities to translate in Nepali the Committee’s Views and disseminate them. 

Note these are unofficial gradings as the Human Rights Committee has not yet commented on implementation.

Efforts for Implementation

  1. Joint follow-up report submitted to the Human Rights Committee, October 2018
  2. Collective Follow-up report to the Human Rights Committee, June 2020