As Nepal emerges from a decade-long civil insurgency and grapples with secular democracy after 240 years of Hindu monarchy, its Constituent Assembly (CA), the country’s 601-member interim legislature, has been tasked with drafting a new constitution. The CA is working to determine the nation’s judicial architecture by April 2011. Critical issues include the types of courts to establish and the scope of their jurisdiction, the extent of the judiciary’s independence and the appointment, disciplining and removal of judges.
With funding from the Open Society Institute and building on its previous efforts to support the constitution-drafting process, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative invited David Pimentel, a professor from Florida Coastal School of Law, to Kathmandu. An expert on judicial governance and ethics and on post-conflict transitional justice, Pimentel has also written on constitutional issues in Nepal. During his July trip, he met with leading figures from the CA committees and with legal advisors from the country’s three major political parties. He also made formal presentations to more than 200 stakeholders, including on access to justice at an event hosted by the Centre for Constitutional Dialogue and on the utility and desirability of a constitutional court at an event co-hosted by the Constitutional Lawyers’ Forum and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Pimentel later gave a keynote address on judicial accountability and independence at an event hosted by the Nepal Supreme Court Bar Association, which was attended by Supreme Court advocates, including the Nepal Bar Association’s president.To learn more about our work in Nepal, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>.