TRC, CIEDP unlikely to accomplish task

Kathmandu, May 27

If TRC and CIEDP continue to work at the current pace, the transitional justice bodies are unlikely to accomplish the task entrusted to them even within the extended one-year mandate, which is expiring on February 9, 2018.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Commission have said they would soon commence investigation into insurgency-era rights violation cases.

However, officials of these transitional justice instruments admitted that it was unlikely for them to finalise investigation into thousands of rights violation cases within the next eight months.

At least 58,052 complaints of criminal offences that allegedly occurred during the Maoist insurgency have been lodged at TRC, while 2,800 plus disappearance-related cases have been registered at CIEDP.

Both TRC and CIEDP have come up with a tentative work plan of completing their assignments within the remaining time. However, officials said these work plans were not realistic and made only with a view to meeting the deadline.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, CIEDP Spokesperson Bishnu Pathak said it could take years to investigate and establish facts behind disappearances, which took place years ago. Both these commissions would investigate insurgency-era cases.

TRC and CIEDP were set up on 10 February 2015 to investigate war-era unresolved rights violation cases, establish the truth and recommend action against perpetrators as well as reparation for the victims. Both the bodies’ mandate was extended for additional one year on 10 February 2017, after the expiry of initial two years’ mandate without any significant achievement.

“We plan to fill ante-mortem forms of disappearance victims in the next eight months,” Pathak said, adding that accomplishing the body’s overall objective would take years.

Meanwhile, TRC member Mahadbi Bhatta said the body after much delay has started the process of investigating rights violation complaints. According to her, the TRC is currently busy forming the field offices at seven provincial headquarters and commence enquiry on complaints most probably after the second phase of local level elections scheduled for June 14.

She also accepted that chances of investigating 60,000 complaints within such a limited time-frame were slim.

TRC fell short of starting preliminary investigation into complaints for more than two months due to absence of its Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung due to his differences with TRC member Bhatta. He returned to the work after widespread media criticism and pressure from conflict victims earlier this month. Gurung didn’t respond to this daily’s request for comment on the TRC’s plan to accomplish its goal.

Bhatta said the preliminary investigation of complaints in all seven provinces and TRC Secretariat in Kathmandu would begin right after the elections.