CVCP flays partys’ plan ‘to divide spoils of appointment’ in TJ bodies

Kathmandu, August 22

Conflict Victims Common Platform has expressed its deep concern about intervention by political parties in selection of office bearers for two transitional justice mechanisms the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappeared Persons.

Chairperson of Conflict Victims Common Platform Bhagiram Chaudhary and general secretary of the organisation Janak Bahadur Raut issued a press release stating that they were deeply concerned about the direction the country’s transitional justice process was taking.

It appeared that a ‘shameless deal’ was reached yesterday between the ruling party and the main opposition to appoint chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A person who was a lawyer intimate with the then CPN-Maoist Centre and who was imprisoned for being party to the conflict, was chosen for the post, CVCP said in its release referring to former attorney general Raman Kumar Shrestha. He is a common candidate of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) for the post of chairperson of TRC. CVCP said Shrestha played a role contrary to the basic principles of transitional justice while serving as attorney general to the then prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and he was well recognised for his stance against the demand of justice by the conflict victims.

CVCP also said it learnt from the media that the political parties were preparing to appoint as members to the TRC and the CIEDP the very same members who had earlier been removed for their incompetence. If reports of such shenanigans are true, we will call for a boycott of both the commissions and their commissioners in the days to come, withdraw all the applications placed by victims before the two commissions, and approach the United Nations and other international justice mechanisms for justice, CVCP said.

“So-called agreement between the political parties goes against the understanding that the transitional justice commissions must be established through a fair, independent and transparent process,” CVCP said.

CVCP said the recommendation committee must ensure that appointees were not directly linked to the conflict, neither to the former militia nor to the security forces, and didn’t have any records of human rights abuse.

It said ongoing development was challenging established norms, values, practices and laws of transitional justice, and constituted a conspiracy to shatter the victims’ hope for justice.

“This conspiracy as reported, hatched in the dead of the night, will ultimately prove costly for the country as political expediency plays havoc with the sentiment of hundreds of thousands of conflict victims. The victim community, which has been fighting and waiting for justice for over a decade finds the process followed by the political parties totally unacceptable,” CVCP said.

It said Recommendation Committee meant to suggest names of the office bearers of the two commissions had lost its essence as ‘it was willing to act as a puppet of the political parties bent on denying justice to victims.’ “Serious doubts have surfaced about capability, even-handedness and credibility of the former chief justice of the Supreme Court who chairs the Committee. Not only has the Committee lost its credibility, its members also have lost moral standing. We strongly demand that all the members resign with immediate effect,” CVCP said. It also appealed to the National Human Rights Commission to recall its representative from the Recommendation Committee. “We do not find any sense of responsibility and concern among the members of the committee and they have made transitional justice process more complex,” it added.