E/CN.4/1997/4/Add.2 page 3 8. Regrettably, however, the visit which the delegation had been due to make to places of detention in the Rolpa region (province situated in western Nepal), where a state of emergency has been in force since the establishment of a guerrilla base in the area, had to be cancelled because no flights were available owing to bad weather. I. OBSERVATIONS BY THE GROUP ON THE CONDUCT OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: RULES APPLICABLE UNDER CURRENT LEGISLATION 9. When the police receive a petition or a complaint from a victim, or when an offence has just been committed, they record the case, institute an inquiry and carry out initial investigations to identify the person who committed the offence. If the offender is identified, the police have direct authority to issue an arrest warrant. Upon arrest, the person is placed in custody in police premises for a maximum period of 24 hours. Travelling time (sometimes as long as two or three days, owing to the Himalayan terrain) is not included in this period. The presence of counsel during custody is legally possible but not compulsory (and therefore infrequent). An indigent defendant is in principle entitled to assistance from assigned counsel. However, lawyers can intervene only after the case has been registered at the court office, and this excludes them de facto for the first 24 hours of custody. 10. With regard to aliens, there is provision for the assistance of an interpreter, who in most cases is supplied by the consulate. 11. It should be noted that arrests may be carried out by day or at night, with only a police warrant, except in the case of a house search, where the investigator must present a judicial warrant. 12. If more time appears necessary for the purposes of the investigation, the investigator must obtain authorization from the court. The application for an extension, which may not exceed 25 days in all, is submitted to the judge in the presence of the person being held in custody. In the event of grave disturbances of public order (attempt on the life of members of the royal family, terrorism, armed clashes, etc.), an extension may be granted by the chief district officer for a total of three months under the Public Offence Act. 13. For minor offences (public drunkenness), on the other hand, the extension may be decided by the police themselves, in which case it may not exceed a second period of 24 hours. 14. From the legal standpoint, the period of extension for a maximum of 25 days, being authorized under the supervision of a court, can be assimilated to detention pending indictment, whereas the three-month extension provided for by the Public Offence Act presents the characteristics of administrative detention, since it is ordered under the sole authority of the chief district officer. 15. When the police consider that the liability of the probable offender has been sufficiently established, the person is brought before the public prosecutor for his statement to be taken. After asking whatever questions may

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