ANANTA RAJ LUITEL
KATHMANDU: President Ram Baran Yadav today issued Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ordinance with an intention to end impunity in the war era cases but has left it on TRC’s discretion on who to prosecute for serious rights violation.
The President issued the Ordinance as per Article 88 of the Interim Constitution with new provisions after consulting experts. He had once returned the bill to the government.
Section 2 of the Ordinance states that it would not provide amnesty in any case of serious human rights violation but does not define which crime amounts to serious human rights violation. Rape, extra judicial killing, forced disappearance, torture and kidnapping, which were listed as serious rights violation in the previous bill are not listed as serious rights violation.
“Though it is intended to address impunity, it has left whether to prosecute the offender or not on the discretion of the Commission,” human rights lawyer Govinda Sharma Bandi told The Himalayan Times. “It still does not meet the international standards,” Bandi added.
Rights activists’ are concerned that not listing above-mentioned crimes as serious human rights violation is a serious anomaly.
Section 23 of the Ordinance ensures that Truth and Reconciliation Commission can prosecute any criminal and does not have any compulsion to forward the report to the Office of the Attorney General through the Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation.
Moreover, the selection committee does not require the political parties’ consent to choose members of the TRC, as the mandatory provision that was there in the previous bill has been removed.
“It is not fair to grant amnesty to any offender without seeking consent of the victim. The Ordinance should have ensured that but has not,” Subodh Raj Pyakurel, Chairman, Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), told The Himalayan Times.
Though removing 35-day statute of limitation for filing rape cases is something positive in the Ordinance, the main concern is that it does not introduce the penalty provision in the Ordinance, added Pyakurel.
• TRC now has the right to grant amnesty
• Serious crimes removed from list of serious rights violation
• No consent of victim required for amnesty
• No role of Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation
• AG can decide whether to prosecute an offender or not
• 35-day statute of limitation in rape cases removed