May 5, 2017
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has condemned moves to impeach the Chief Justice of Nepal, warning that such actions suggest a concerted attempt by the Government to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
“Chief Justice Sushila Karki has been instrumental in a number of high-profile and politically sensitive decisions, and therefore the attempt to remove her gives rise to serious concerns about the Government’s commitment to transitional justice and the rule of law,” Zeid said.
On 30 April, the two ruling parties, the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), filed an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, alleging she had encroached on the prerogatives of the executive branch. This suggests a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the role of an independent judiciary, the High Commissioner noted.
The motion was filed days after the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Karki, revoked the Government’s appointment of a new Inspector General of Police, ruling that the Government had violated existing processes and regulations.
The Chief Justice has been suspended from her post until the impeachment proceedings are concluded. A committee will now be established to investigate the allegations, after which MPs will vote on whether to impeach her. However, this process is unlikely to be concluded before the Chief Justice reaches the mandatory retirement age on 7 June, meaning she will not be able to participate in a number of politically sensitive cases that she had announced the Supreme Court would consider in the near future.
**BREAKING: Chief Justice Karki reinstated**: