Nepal PM Administers Fresh Oath to Chief Justice

Jan 18 – Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala administered the oath of office and secrecy to Chief Justice (CJ) Dilip Kumar Poudel at a special swearing-in ceremony organised at the National Planning Commission hall inside Singha Durbar, today afternoon. This is the first time in the five-decade history of the Nepali judiciary that the prime minister has sworn in the chief justice. Earlier, the king used to enjoy this authority.

Talking to reporters after the swearing in ceremony, PM Koirala said that an interim government, including the Maoists, will be in place within the next three weeks. “An interim government will be formed in the next 15-20 days. The management of the Maoist arms and army will be completed before the formation of the interim government,” said the PM.

Similarly, CJ Paudel said that he has taken his swearing-in by the PM “normally” and that it would not hamper the independence of the judiciary. “As the prime minister now also enjoys the rights and authority of the head of the state, I have taken this (swearing-in by the PM) very normally. It will not interfere with the independence of the judiciary,” said CJ Paudel.

According to Article 162(2) of the Interim Constitution of Nepal promulgated on January 15, all judges need to take fresh oath of office and the judges who fail to do so will be automatically dismissed from their posts. A special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday had decided that the CJ should take the oath of office by the PM and that the CJ would administer the oath of office to other SC justices.

Clarifying the confusion over the oath taking of the judges under the Interim Constitution, the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday had finalised the procedure and format.

Nepal Maoists Formally Dissolve Peoples' Governments, Peoples' Courts

Jan 18 – Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has said that it has dissolved all its “people’s governments” and “people’s courts” across the country. In a statement issued Thursday, Maoist Chairman Prachanda said that all levels of local governments run by his party were dissolved as per the agreement reached with the governments in the past.

[maoist arms management photos]

Directing his party workers to support the coalition interim government to be formed in the near future, Prachanda said, “The people’s government and the courts established in the past have been formally dissolved in the context of the historic development of January 15.” On January 15, the reinstated House of Representatives was dissolved and the interim legislature formed after the House unanimously passed the Interim Constitution, allowing the former rebels to enter parliament.

Joint committee finalizes remaining two satellite camps

Jan 18- Head of the UN team to assist in Nepal peace process, Ian Martin today said that the joint committee (comprising the Nepal Army, Maoist and the UN representatives) has finalized all the saellite camps to put the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Today’s meeting of the committee decided the remaining two satellite camps that would be in the vicinity of the seven main camps.

Earlier the committee had finalized 19 satellite camps out of 21. Two satellite camps at Maoist seventh division at Sahajpur, Kailali and fourth division at Saina Baina, Rupandehi had to get the final approval by the committee. Speaking at a press conference at the UN Building at Pulchowk, Martin said that a team has already set off for Biratnagar as well to begin its operation after setting up an office there.

The committee’s meeting today also decided to transfer the Maoist second division to Chandanpur from Sindhuligadhi in Sindhuli. 35 UN authorized monitors have already been deployed for the monitoring of management of arms from offices in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj.

Nepal in Transition: Photos of First Day of Arms Management

News of the day:

Maoists Formally Dissolve Peoples’ Governments, Peoples’ Courts: Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has said that it has dissolved all its “people’s governments” and “people’s courts” across the country. In a statement issued Thursday, Maoist Chairman Prachanda said that all levels of local governments run by his party were dissolved as per the agreement reached with the governments in the past. (more)

Photographs of the first day of registration and storage of weapons and registration of Maoist combatants, at the Maoist 3rd Divisional cantonment site in Chitwan, Nepal on 17 January 2006. [related blog]

nepal maoist arms management by united nations

UN Senior Military Advisor Jan Erik Wilhemsen, with Deputy Caommander Pasang (senior Maoist representative on the Joint Monitoring Coordinating Committee) and Deputy Commander Ananta (in charge of the Central Region)

nepal maoist arms management by united nations

UN registration team (in green sleeves, on left) with Maoist commanders and UN monitor (centre) [also the photo below]. Continue reading Nepal in Transition: Photos of First Day of Arms Management

First Day of Arms Management: 554 Maoist Combatants Registered

KATHMANDU/CHITWAN- United Nations arms monitors- assisted by the Gurkha Interim Task Force (ITF)- started the registration and storage of Maoist arms at two cantonment sites, in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts, Wednesday (17 Jan). Altogether 554 Maoist combatants and an equal number of weapons were registered on the first day. A statement issued by the Office of the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General (OPRSG) said the UN monitors, who supervised the registration and storage procedure, are present at both the sites. “Four UN registration teams conducted the process, with experts from UNDP in Afghanistan working with local Nepalese registrars,” said the statement. ITF members – made up of former Nepali soldiers from the Indian and British armies- are already on site to allow for 24-hour monitoring of the sites. Among the total of seven main cantonment sites, according to the statement, final logistical preparations are underway in the remaining five sites “so that registration can commence early next week”.

maoist combatants chitwan

Maoist combatants get out of the cantonment in Shaktikhor, Chitwan on Wednesday (17 Jan). The arms management process started here but journalists were denied permission to enter and take photos. Pic by Binod Tripathi via Kantipur

Following induction of the Maoists into the interim legislature on Monday (15 Jan), India and the United States have said that the Maoists cannot be included in the government before the arms management process is “credible and complete”. Though the UN officials haven’t said anything on how much time the registration and storage of Maoists would take, UN officials have told the government, according to sources, that the task will be completed within two weeks, paving the way for the Maoists to join an interim government.

Expressing satisfaction over the first day of registration and storage of weapons at the 3rd and 4th Maoist cantonment sites, General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen, Military Advisor to the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, said it went “very well”. “I was present today at the Maoist 3rd Divisional cantonment site in Chitwan, and am pleased to report that there was excellent cooperation between the Maoist combatants, the UN monitors and registration team and the Interim Task Force,” the statement quoted Gen. Wilhelmsen as saying.

Though the UN had said that the registration process would start on Monday (15 Jan), it was delayed by two days due to difficulty over logistical arrangements. The start of UN arms monitoring was made possible by the advance deployment of 35 UN arms monitors approved by the Security Council in December. Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requested Council authorization to deploy a full-fledged political mission in Nepal, UNMIN, to carry out all of the tasks requested of the UN in support of the peace process.

554 Combatants Registered

The Kathmandu Post reporters in Chitwan and Nawalparasi report that altogether 554 Maoist combatants were registered with the UN arms monitors- 354 at Shaktikhor of Chitwan and 200 at Jhyaltung Danda, Nawalparasi. Bibidh, Commander of the Maoists’ 3rd Division, told that the combatants were asked to furnish personal records and submit their bio-data. On Wednesday (17 Jan), combatants of the 8th Battalion of the Basu Smriti Brigade were registered and their arms stored. One weapon from each combatant has been sequestered. The weapons included LMGs, Insas, M-16s and 3-0-3 rifles.

Bibidh said not many were registered on the first day as the UN monitors and members of the ITF spent more time on “camera and computer setting”. At both the sites, particulars of the combatants and their weapons have been entered into computers with photos and bar codes. “The [daily average] number of combatants being verified will increase in the following days,” said Bibidh. The Maoists have said that there are about 6,000 combatants at the Chitwan cantonment site alone. In Nawalparasi, the actual work of registration started only at 4:00 p.m.

Journalists barred in Arms Verification Sites

In Chitwan, Maoist combatants barred journalists from covering the registration of Maoist arms and troops. The Maoists stopped the journalists at the main gate of the cantonment site, saying that there was no order from “higher-up” to allow the journalists in. “Nowhere in the world journalists or human rights activists are allowed inside the military area except in special circumstances,” said a guerilla at the gate. “That is why we are not allowing you entry. But we will keep providing you information.” [UWB has learned that Maoists are unwilling to let the photographers inside the area because photos showing their combatants handing over the weapons would give the message to the Nepali public and the world that they were surrendering. “We don’t want this to be portrayed as surrendering,” said a Maoist source.]