Restructuring of selection panel demanded

Kathmandu, July 16

Amid the recommendation committee’s failure to appoint members for two transitional justice commissions, victims of decade-long Maoist armed conflict have demanded restructuring of the committee.

The committee, which was formed in the last week of March, has been postponing its scheduled meetings time and again. Knowledgeable sources say it is doing nothing but awaiting political consensus on appointment of members and chairpersons of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons. The posts have remained vacant since April 14.

Political parties have failed to reach a consensus on the appointments, with dialogue between the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the main opposition Nepali Congress coming to a grinding halt. “There have been no dialogues for the past three weeks,” said NC leader Minendra Rijal, who is among leaders actively involved in the talks. “We are always ready to sit for dialogue, but the ruling party seems least bothered.”

On this backdrop, the victims have concluded that the committee has failed to work independently, and that it should be restructured.

The Conflict Victims Common Platform is planning to submit a memorandum to the Minister of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal on Thursday to exert pressure on the government.

They will also submit the document to Chairperson of the Parliamentary Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, NCP leaders Subas Chandra Nembang and Barhsa Man Pun, NC leader Ramesh Lekhak, the National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma, Attorney General Agni Kharel and the selection committee’s Chairperson Om Prakash Mishra. Nembang, Pun and Lekhak, besides Rijal, are also actively involved in the NC-NCP negotiations regarding appointment of members in the TJ bodies.

In the memorandum yet to be submitted, the CVCP has demanded that the process of appointment of TRC, CIEDP members be immediately halted. They have demanded that the appointment process be resumed only after the amendment of the Transitional Justice Act, in line with the Supreme Court verdicts.

They have also demanded that the selection committee be restructured following the act amendment, to form another selection committee that can work independently and transparently to appoint competent members in the commissions.

“The committee’s failure to take a decision for more than three months after its formation is enough to infer that it is incompetent and is working at the direction of political parties,” said former CVCP chairperson Suman Adhikari.

In the memorandum, the CVCP has also recommended a procedure for the appointment of members for the commissions. “What we want is a fair selection process, and competent commission members,” said Adhikari. “We are recommending them the correct procedure to select competent persons.”The committee’s Spokesperson Sharmila Karki said they were delaying appointment of members to the TJ bodies to ensure that competent members were appointed.