Prachanda challenges disqualified combatants to take their conflict-era concerns to the Hague

conflict-era concerns of disqualified Maoist combatants

KATHMANDU, July 29: Nepal Communist Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has challenged the disqualified Maoist combatants to take their conflict-era concerns to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

Dahal’s remark comes days after the combatants of the decade-long armed conflict warned Dahal they would take the issue to the international court if the government fails to ensure their rehabilitation and livelihood packages.

During the reintegration of the Maoist combatants—a key part of the Nepal Peace Process, of the over 20,000 Maoist staying in seven main cantonments (barracks) and the 21 sub-cantonments, 4008 were disqualified due to their underage, enrollment after the cut-off date and various other reasons. They were released from the camp in early 2010.

The discharged combatants have been accusing the then Maoist leaders of using them as part of their People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during the Nepalese Civil War but ignoring to ensure their rehabilitation once the war was over. They have also sought justice based on international laws.

“They should provide us the needful assistance or the government and the concerned party (former Maoist) should take the responsibility of violating the rights of child soldiers,” Lenin Bista, leader of the combatants had said organizing a press conference at the Reporters Club Nepal two weeks ago.

However, Dahal argued that taking their issues to the Hague would glorify his name instead.

“If you can, implement your warning,” said Dahal.

“But I know, it’s just a warning. No one has to gut to do it.”

“It’s just a conspiracy to make the federal democratic system a failure.”

The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

The international court exercises its jurisdiction only under certain conditions when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court.