CIEDP to collect ante-mortem data from tomorrow

Kathmandu, June 23

The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons will start collecting ante-mortem data from Sunday.

CIEDP member Prof Bishnu Pathak said the commission would start its ante-mortem data collection from Kathmandu where the commission’s investigators would interview 106 victims and record their details.

Ante-mortem data will help the CIEDP collect detailed information on the victims’ enforced disappeared persons, such as the victims’ physical appearance, details of the witnesses who had seen the victims before they disappeared, clothes worn by the victims, colour and shape of the victims’ teeth and information relating to possible sites where the victims might have been buried. As many as 2,791 victims’ have lodged complaints at the CIEDP.

Pathak said the CIEDP would complete investigation in Kathmandu in three weeks and after that the transitional mechanism’s teams would go to 73 districts where the victims have lodged their complaints. The CIEDP has not received any complaint from Manang and Mustang district so far. Pathak said the CIEDP would need 35 teams of investigators to complete the ante-mortem data collection by mid-February next year.

The transitional mechanism only has five teams of investigators now. “I have studied the cases of 49 transitional mechanisms formed in various countries of the world and found that not more than 25 per cent ante-mortem data was collected in those countries. The CIEDP wants to be an example in the world by collecting cent per cent ante-mortem data,” he said and added that if cent mortem data was collected, that would help the state investigate the cases of enforced disappearance and prosecute the guilty even after 50 years.  He said recording the statements of victims’ families and excavating suspected sites to find buried human remains could take years.

Pathak said the government was not cooperating with the transitional mechanism. “It’s been more than 18 months since we submitted a draft bill proposing to criminalise enforced disappearance and yet the government has not enacted the bill into law,” he added.

Pathak said the CIEDP could carry out its investigation even in the absence of laws that criminalise enforced disappearance, but it would need such laws when the transitional mechanism would recommend action against the perpetrators. He said the government allowed Truth and Reconciliation Commission to hire experts, but it did not allow the CIEDP to hire experts, as provisioned in the CIEDP related laws. “This means that the government does not want the CIEDP to do its duty,” Pathak added.