TRC yet to decide on tenure extension

Kathmandu, January 21

Even as their tenures are about to expire, the transitional justice mechanisms are yet to decide on seeking extension.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons were set up in February 2015 to resolve all conflict-era rights violation cases within two years. Their terms expire on February 9.

As per Section 38 (2) of the CIEDP and TRC Act, the government can extend their tenure by one year if they seek extension clarifying why they failed to complete the tasks in time.

Having done almost nothing to resolve war-era criminal offences so far, TRC and CIEDP office bearers are now finding it hard to justify the grounds for tenure extension.

TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung told THT he found himself in a difficult situation. "So far we couldn’t deliver primarily due to the government’s non-cooperation in preparing necessary laws and managing financial, human and technical resources," he argued. "If government apathy persists, we could end up doing nothing even if the tenure is extended."

Yesterday, TRC and CIEDP office bearers discussed term extension.

It is learnt that while CIEDP members were almost unanimous about seeking term extension, TRC members were divided on the issue.

CIEDP Spokesperson Bishnu Pathak said all CIEDP members opined that an extension had to be sought because things were moving in the right direction. He claimed that the allotted time frame of two years was not enough given the nature and complexity of the tasks.

Gurung said a decision would be taken next week. "If we decide to seek extension, we will do so with a condition — full support and cooperation from the government," he added.

TRC members Madhabi Bhatta and Manchala Jha said the entire transitional justice process would be derailed and justice would be denied to the victims if the TRC's term was not extended.

Gurung cautioned that the international community would come to the fore if Nepali stakeholders left the process half-way.

However, two members Leela Udasi and Sri Krishna Subedi opined there was no point in seeking extension if the government and other relevant stakeholder didn’t cooperate.

Gurung said the members would decide unanimously on extension on condition of full support from the government.

He said the TRC couldn’t carry out its work for almost one year due to lack of human resources, delay in setting up its office and amending the law as per the Supreme Court verdict.