The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has called on Nepal government and ruling parties to withdraw the impeachment motion filed against Chief Justice Sushila Karki in order to ensure judicial independence and the appropriate separation of powers.
In a statement on Tuesday, the ICJ said the unprecedented motion filed on 30 April 2017 to impeach CJ Karki threatens the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
“This impeachment motion, the first against a sitting Chief Justice in Nepal’s history, raises very serious concerns about the independence of Nepal’s Supreme Court and the separation of powers in the country,” said Matt Pollard, who heads the ICJ’s Center for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, in a statement on Tuesday.
In the statement, ICJ noted that the impeachment motion comes in the wake of the decision of the full bench of the Supreme Court, chaired by Justice Karki, to revoke the Cabinet’s February 12 decision to appoint a new Inspector General of Nepal Police evidently in violation of existing processes and regulations.
Two ruling parties, Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre), on Sunday registered a motion at Parliament Secretariat to impeach Chief Justice Karki according to Article 101(2) of Nepal’s Constitution 2015.
Justice Karki is scheduled to retire on 7 Jun 2017, when she reaches the mandatory retirement age.
Noting that CJ Karki was immediately suspended after the registration of impeachment motion based on Article 101(6), Pollard added that the article doesn’t comply with international standards on the independence of the judiciary as the ICJ had pointed out repeatedly in its analysis of the constitution draft.
“This recent motion starkly demonstrates the problems with the Constitutional provision,” he added.
Stating that Nepal’s Judiciary has been instrumental in protecting human rights, rule of law and enforcement of the Nepal’s obligation under international law, Pollard said the Nepali judiciary as an institution has strengthened and has gained international respect for its independence and should be celebrated and strengthened, instead of being subject to this kind of legislative attack.