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Panel finds Gyanendra guilty of suppression: Report

A high-level commission was set up in May to probe excesses by the King in trying to put down a 19-day pro-democracy movement.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 11:18 IST

A high-level commission set up in early May to investigate excesses by King Gyanendra's government in trying to put down a 19-day pro-democracy movement found King Gyanendra "guilty of suppression and killing of people", newspaper reports said on Wednesday.

Headed by former judge of the Nepalese Supreme Court Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, the panel was set up soon after a pro-democracy movement forced King Gyanendra to hand over power in late April to a seven-party coalition.

King Gyanendra did not reply to a set of questions sent to him by the panel in the course of its investigations of those responsible for allegedly using "excessive force" to put down the movement spearheaded by the Seven-Party Alliance and the Maoists.

The daily Himalayan Times cited sources in the Rayamajhi panel as saying that the commission found that King Gyanendra was responsible for suppression and the deaths of people during the pro-democracy movement.

The commission decided to urge the government and parliament to take necessary steps against the king, as no law permits action against him.

The commission, which spent 184 days to complete its investigation, is scheduled to submit its report on Friday to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

"We have decided to recommend the parliament to take necessary steps against the king, as we found him guilty," a highly placed commission source reportedly told the newspaper.

He added that they have said that though the king did not respond to the commission's questionnaire, it does not mean he did no wrong.

This is the first time in Nepal's history that a commission, seen by some as a panel set up by the victors to punish the vanquished, has found a king guilty.

"Since he was the chairman of the council of ministers, we found him responsible for all the decisions taken by the cabinet," the source added.

The commission specifically recommended that the government take strong action against members of the king's cabinet and the chiefs of the security agencies who ordered use of "excessive force" to suppress the movement.

The panel had questioned 294 people over human-rights violations and alleged misuse of the national treasury.

It has accused some security personnel of ordering the shooting of demonstrators and decided to recommend prosecution of them on charges of murder.

"Around 150 people were found guilty of killing and suppressing the people," Himalayan Times quoted the panel source as saying.

The commission held the then vice-chairmen of the council of ministers, Tulsi Giri and Kirtinidhi Bista, Home Minister Kamal Thapa and other ministers guilty of violating human rights.

The commission is set to ask the government and parliament to promulgate a law so that the alleged perpetrators can be prosecuted on charges of abusing human rights, as Nepal has no specific law to prosecute anyone on charge of human rights abuse.

The commission named certain officials and recommended dismissals, demotions and departmental actions against them.

Many ministers and regional administrators were also found guilty of misusing the state treasury.

The commission decided to recommend that they be prosecuted under the 2002 Anti-Corruption Act, the newspaper reported.

The panel report, which appeared to have been leaked to the local press, was carried Wednesday in all major Nepalese newspapers.

About two-dozen people were killed and thousands reportedly injured in the April pro-democracy movement launched by the Seven-Party Alliance, with the active support and participation of the Maoists.

First Published: Nov 15, 2006 11:18 IST