Transitional justice should be victim-centred

‘Transitional justice should be victim-centred’

By Himalayan News Service

THT logo

Kathmandu, October 8 Experts and stakeholders today said the transitional justice process should be victim-centric for it to become successful. They said if victims of the decade-long Maoist insurgency did not feel that justice had been delivered, the TJ process would not be successful. Senior journalist Yubaraj Ghimire said since political change and the peace process were interrelated, one could not succeed with the other failing. “Peace without justice is meaningless. And, the transition will never end unless the victims are delivered justice,” Ghimire said at an event organised jointly by the National Network of the Families of the Disappeared and Missing-Nepal and Tribhuvan University Department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies. He also said that the heroes of Nepal’s political change had become villains in the peace process, leaving the victims helpless. Ghimire suggested that the Transitional Justice mechanisms — the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons — should have representations from victims to make them effective. He also warned that if the transitional justice process was not taken to a logical end, the country would either plunge into lawlessness or the international community would start dictating. Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, who was made to disappear during the conflict but released later, said it was more troublesome to be left hapless about justice than being a disappeared person. He warned that conflict would take another form if the situation continued. “We do not expect 100 percent victims to receive justice, but majority should receive justice,” he said. Foreign affairs and security expert Geja Sharma Wagle said the transitional justice process would not be successful until four stakeholders — government, political parties, victims and security agencies including the army and police — came on board wholeheartedly. “At this moment, all of them are engaged, but half-heartedly,” he said. Wagle also said Nepal’s transitional justice process was neither victim-friendly nor human rights-friendly. He suggested that transitional justice law should be amended keeping in mind three factors — justice, reconciliation and reparation. Rights activist Reshma Thapa said transitional justice was not an end, but a means. She suggested that issues of truth-seeking and reparation be taken ahead now, leaving the contentious issue of prosecution for a later stage. “Let’s keep the contentious issues of amnesty and prosecution for a later stage so that some work can be done,” she said. She said if the work of truth-seeking was over, a strong document would come in hand which would later facilitate prosecution. TRC Member Shree Krishna Subedi said Nepal’s transitional justice process could not make desired progress because of the lack of political willpower.