‘CIEDP’s success dependent on govt’s willpower’

Kathmandu, February 14

Chairman of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons Lokendra Mallick today said the success and failure of the transitional justice body depended on the ‘willpower’ of the government and political parties.

Speaking at a press conference here, Mallick said the CIEDP would not be able not complete investigations no matter how many times its term was extended if political parties and the government did not cooperate in addressing issues plaguing the CIEDP such as the crunch of human and financial resources and lack of necessary legislation.

The Cabinet last week extended the tenure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the CIEDP by one year until February 10, 2019. “The biggest hindrance in the investigation process is lack of skilled human resources. Neither the government gives us necessary manpower, nor does it allow us to hire staff,” said Mallick, conceding that the CIEDP had failed to make progress as expected. “We also cannot transfer budget from one head to the other, so we cannot spend the money when we need.”

Mallick, however, also said the CIEDP would ‘do its bit’ to complete the investigation process in the extended one-year period. However, due to the lack of necessary legislation the CIEDP might not be able to recommend action against perpetrators. “If the government fails to adopt necessary legislation, we will still come up with a report identifying the perpetrators and recommending that the government formulate necessary laws and take action against them.”

Conflict victims have also been saying that a strong credible report was necessary for future advocacy even if the government did not formulate necessary laws. No law bars the CIEDP from coming up with a credible report with strong recommendation, but it needs a clear roadmap and will for that, National Network of Families of the Disappeared and Missing Persons has said.

Both the transitional justice bodies have long been demanding that the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 be amended in line with the Supreme Court verdict.

The SC has ruled that there should not be amnesty for grave human rights violations such as extra-judicial killing, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and other acts of sexual violence; the statute of limitations for grave offences must be removed; cases recommended by the TRC and the CIEDP must be prosecuted; torture and enforced disappearance must be criminalised through the enactment of laws; cases before the court cannot be transferred to TRC or CIEDP; dignified and respectable reparation for victims; and reconciliation cannot be made without the consent of victims.

Of the total 3,093 complaints received, the CIEDP has recommended 2,258 complaints for detailed investigation after completing preliminary investigation. Detailed investigations have begun into around 200 complaints. The number of complaints might go up as the CIEDP has opened a new complaint registration window — from February 13 to March 14 — following requests from conflict victims who failed to file their complaints previously due to various reasons. The victims can register their complaints at the CIEDP office in Pulchowk, Lalitpur, and at the local peace committees based in 75 districts.