Kathmandu, February 6
The House of Representatives today endorsed the bill to amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014.
Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal presented the bill in the House for endorsement. The National Assembly has already passed the amendment.
The bill extends the tenure of members of two transitional justice commissions till April 13 and the tenure of the commissions by one year with provisions to extend the tenure by another one year. The extended tenure of the two commissions formed in February 2015 is expiring on February 9.
The bill also has provisions that separate the tenure of the commission members from the tenure of the commissions. The new provision means if the tenure of the commission members expires or all the posts of members remain vacant, the commissions will still remain intact and the government can make new appointments through a Cabinet decision.
As per the existing act, members shall continue to hold their posts till the tenure of the commissions, and the commissions will be scrapped in the event the posts remain vacant.
The new provision now allows the government to restructure the two commissions — Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons — after April 13. Conflict victims have also been demanding that the commissions be restructured.
The bill, however, does not address the other demands of the victims such as amending the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 in line with the Supreme Court’s verdicts and international standards. A section of victims have also demanded the formation of a high-level mechanism to oversee the entire transitional justice process.
Government officials have said the bill only extended the tenure of the commissions and members to ensure that there remained no vacuum after the expiry of their term, and to allow some time for holding consultations with stakeholders for a full act amendment addressing the victims’ demand.
A version of this article appears in print on February 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.