Kathmandu, March 30
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission today unveiled its plan to complete investigation into conflict-era human rights violation cases in less than a year.
During a meeting of Social Justice and Human Rights Committee of the Parliament, TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung presented a plan of action, stating that the transitional justice mechanism would submit its final report to the government by early February next year.
However, many view TRC’s plan as ‘unrealistic’ as it has yet to start collecting complaints from conflict victims. They argued that the plan of action might have been prepared just to make it seem that it would meet the given deadline.
TRC was set up in February 2015 with the mandate to resolve all conflict-era rights violation cases by recommending necessary action against the perpetrators and reparation to the victims within two years.
TRC plans to collect complaints of conflict victims from April 17 to June 16 via district peace committee secretariats. Then, a probe committee comprising experts would carry out a preliminary investigation into the complaints in the next three months before launching a comprehensive investigation. The detailed investigation process may last for up to six months, it said.
Upon completion of the investigation, TRC would recommend the government to take action against perpetrators and provide compensation to the victims.
Human rights defenders are skeptic about TRC’s ability to wrap up probe on war-era cases in such a short span of time given the enormity of the task.
Advocate Hari Phuyal said TRC needs collect and screen complaints from conflict-victims, establish the crimes by collecting evidences, recording statements of witnesses and perpetrators before recommending the government for necessary action. “It is not possible for TRC to accomplish all these tasks within ten months,” he said.
Besides, the international community, including the UN, has not acknowledged the TRC’s Act fully, while the Supreme Court is of the view that cases sub-judice in the courts can’t be dealt through a transitional justice mechanism.
“Resolving conflict-era rights violation cases not only involves technical aspects as it is also a political process,” Phuyal said, adding that TRC could accomplish its task if its term is extended for an additional year.
TRC member Madhabi Bhatta also told The Himalayan Times that it would be an uphill task for the TRC to achieve this goal as TRC Act itself requires amendment and issues of serious human rights violation cases are are yet to be clearly defined.
Meanwhile, TRC also plans to issue identity cards to conflict victims. The body also published a public notice today requesting members of the public to register complaints regarding conflict-era human rights violation cases, including murder, abduction, injuries, physical and psychological harassment and torture, rape and sexual violence, property crimes, enforced displacement and other activities deemed crimes against humanity as per the international human rights and humanitarian laws.
The parliamentary panel, meanwhile, urged the commission to implement its plan of action effectively.
A version of this article appears in print on March 31, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.