Conflict victims concerned about TRC Act bill amendment
Kathmandu, September 26
Conflict victims have become concerned about preparations to remove ‘crime against humanity’ from the heinous crime category in the amendment draft bill of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, which is being tabled in the Parliament soon.
Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha accepted that homework was on to amend the exiting CIEDP and TRC Act, by removing ‘crime against humanity’ from the heinous crime category.
Suman Adhikari, chairman, Conflict Victims Common Platform on Transitional Justice-Nepal, said that ‘crime against humanity’ shouldn’t be de-listed from the category of heinous crimes. Rather, it should be clarified what sort of crimes fall under ‘heinous crime’.
“In the existing Act, crime against humanity is considered a heinous crime. We shouldn’t remove it from the Act, rather it should be defined clearly,” he told The Himalayan Times.
He also said other crimes such as forcible use of children in the insurgency, should also be considered a serious crime that happened in the decade-long Maoist insurgency from February 1996 to November 2006.
In the existing CIEDP and TRC Act, crime against humanity is termed a heinous crime, along with rape, killing, torture and enforced disappearances.
The draft has classified crimes other than these four heinous crimes as ‘other crimes’, by providing space for general amnesty to the perpetrators. The proposed amendment bill is awaiting final endorsement from the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs to be able in the House.
“If crime against humanity is removed, it will be not only go against the spirit of the international principle and practice of transitional justice, but also be against the Supreme Court’s verdicts,” said Gyanendra Aran, secretary of the Conflict Victims National Society.
Crime Against humanity generally includes genocide directed against a large group because of religion, ethnicity, country of origin, or other reasons, unconnected with any individual’s responsibility for having committed a criminal act, according to dictionary.com.
If crime against humanity is kept under the heinous crime category in the Act, senior Maoist leaders or government officials could be held responsible, even if the perpetrators of such crimes couldn’t be found or identified, an official told The Himalayan Times.
“Therefore, it’s a design to eliminate war-era criminal charges against senior Maoists figures and government officials,” he said.
Talking to The Himalayan Times, Attorney General Shrestha claimed that no crime against humanity occurred during the decade-long Maoist insurgency. “The ‘phrase’ is also vague, so its ‘essence’ will be adjusted with other categorisations,” he stated.
A TRC member also said that ‘crime against humanity’ is considered heinous and amnesty cannot be granted to perpetrators in such cases. The member also questioned the intent behind not calling ‘crime against humanity’ a heinous crime.
Writ against guideline
KATHMANDU: Conflict Victims National Society on Monday filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court, seeking revision on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s guideline on disposing insurgency era cases.
CVNS Secretary Gyanendra Raj Aran filed the writ at the apex court stating that the working procedure was against the principle of transitional justice and several of its provisions were designed to give amnesty to the perpetrators of heinous crimes committed during the Maoist insurgency.
“The guideline regarding disposing war-era cases is controversial as well as illegal,” he said. He sought the apex court’s intervention after the TRC rejected his appeal.
As per the guidelines, complaints can be put on hold on several grounds, including lack of evidence, inadequate details, use of coercive tactics to force resignation and involvement in the insurgency.