19th Jan 2018

Orientation to Court Officials on Victims Witness Protection in Makwanpur

PPR Nepal organized half day orientation program for the Court officials of the Appellate Court Hetauda in Hetauda on 29 January 2016. The program was organized to orient the court officials of Appellate Court Hetauda on the protection of survivors/witnesses of human trafficking who come into contact with the criminal justice system and are particularly vulnerable and require special measures to ensure that they are appropriately assisted and protected by criminal justice processes. Chief Judge from Appellate Court Hetauda honorable Mr. Biswambhar Prasad Shrestha, Judge from Appellate Court Hetauda honorable Mr. Hari Kumar Pokharel, Judge from Chitwan District Court Mr. Tek Narayan Kunwar. The program was participated by 35 court officials, journalists and lawyers.

In the orientation two papers were presented - by honorable judge Mr. Tek Narayan Kunwar and honorable judge Mr. Hari Kumar Pokharel. The first presentation by honorable Mr. Hari Kumar Pokharel discussed about the legal provisions and practice of victim and witness protection in Nepal, where he stressed the importance of victim/witness in the success of criminal justice system. Maintaining the need of separate victim/witness protection law he said that Nepal is quite weak in implementing the existing legal provisions on victim/witness protection.

The second presentation by honorable Mr. Tek Narayan Kunwar discussed that different measures can be taken to provide safety and security to the victims and witnesses in the Court and outside the Court. In developed countries, victims and witnesses are provided new name with new identity and at times relocated to different places but in the context of Nepal nothing as such has happened. Honorable Tek Narayan Kunwar discussed about different aspects such as establishing victims friendly court environment, maintaining safety and security of the victims, addressing their needs and psychosocial well-being, establishing victims friendly room within the court premises, provisions of closed hearing, confidentiality among others. The Chief Judge honorable Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha acknowledged the importance of the program and it was also a learning opportunity for him as well. He expressed his commitment to take necessary steps to make the Appellate Court victim/witness friendly as well as ordered his officials to act on their capacity to improve the situation. After the presentations the participants acknowledged that they never thought the safety, security and confidentiality of the victim and witness would be so important and expressed commitment to implement the learning and assist the victims/witnesses according to what they have learnt from the orientation and better coordination will be enhanced among the key stakeholders to make the Court victim/witness friendly.

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