Attorney General for addressing concerns about transitional justice

Govt can seek extradition of Col Kumar Lama once the torture bill is enacted into law

Kathmandu, July 3

Attorney General Hari Phuyal said his office was trying to help the government address concerns about transitional justice once and for all.

In an interview with this daily, he said he was in favour of bringing new laws related to transitional justice that could satisfy all sides ex-rebels, security agencies, victims’ families, civil society and the international community.

Phuyal said CPN-Maoist Centre leaders and the security agencies had agreed that there would be no amnesty for serious offences, such as extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual offences.

The AG also said that the CPN-MC leaders had told him that they accepted the constitution and the rule of law and were ready to cooperate with courts and help victims of conflict get justice, a milestone as far as settling transitional justice issues was concerned.

Phuyal said the main objective of transitional justice was to find the truth regarding conflict-era incidents and recommend reforms in state bodies that dealt with conflict.

“Prosecution is recommended only in exceptional cases. The objective of transitional justice is to ensure that serious offences don’t go unpunished,” he added.

Phuyal said he was trying to help the government bring necessary legal framework soon and to try to settle issues related to transitional justice and dispose conflict-era cases soon so that both sides CPN-Maoist Centre leaders/cadres and security personnel who feel that their foreign tour could be risky could heave a sigh of relief.

He said he held talks with the international community, including representatives of the United Nations, about the changes he was contemplating and added that they were waiting to see the new legal framework.

“I am hopeful that the UN, which had declined to support the transitional justice mechanism, will extend its support after legal changes are introduced,” he added.

Phuyal said he was in favour of solving conflict-era cases through TRC. “Once the TRC comes up with its findings, a Special Court can be formed to try the cases recommended by the TRC for prosecution,” he said. The AG added that he was in favour of transferring eight conflict-era cases filed by the victims to the Special Court.

“As far as 200 pending conflicts-era cases are concerned, they are not serious cases and were filed by the police so I am of the view that those cases should be sent to the TRC and if they are found to be of serious nature, they can be transferred to Special Court.

Phuyal said the TRC Act was formulated so that the Special Court could prosecute serious conflict-era cases.

He said talks that disposition of conflict-era cases could take 8-10 years and some big leaders could be indicted at the International Criminal Court were nothing but propaganda.

“Once a bill to criminalise torture is passed by our Parliament, I will recommend that the government ask for extradition of Col Kumar Lama from the United Kingdom to prosecute him in Nepal.

Phuyal said the new laws that could be brought would remove the old provisions of statute of limitations in serious crimes so that those cases could be tried by the transitional mechanism.