13:00 - 14:30
Lectures, talks and seminars
Human Rights Centre Speaker Series
Human Rights Centre
Universal jurisdiction in practice: challenges and lessons learned in the case of R v Kumar Lama
Mandira Sharma, Founder, Advocacy Forum, Nepal
Chair: Professor Clara Sandoval, Acting Director, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
Colonel Kumar Lama was acquitted of torture allegedly committed in Nepal during the civil war in 2005 after an 8 week trial in the UK. The charges were brought under the doctrine of ‘universal jurisdiction’, in what was only the third universal jurisdiction trial in UK history. Although he was acquitted, the case is said to further establish the principle of universal jurisdiction in the UK for victims who have been subject to torture abroad. Mandira Sharma will discuss the background of the case, the role of an NGO in bringing the case to trial, and the challenges and lessons learned more broadly around the case.
Mandira Sharma is a leading human rights activist from Nepal. For the last two decades, she has been working to promote human rights and the rule of law in her country by monitoring and documenting cases of human rights violations, visiting places of detention, and initiating litigation both at national and international level. She is known for her voice against impunity in Nepal. Despite tremendous challenges, Mandira and her team at Advocacy Forum, worked on the case R v. Lama. She is an Essex alumni; she did her LLM in International Human Rights Law here and has returned as a Ph.D. Student, researching on transitional justice.