Kathmandu, November 15
The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons is mobilising four teams in Bardiya — the district with the highest number of cases of conflict-era disappearances — for the first phase of detailed investigations in which statements from victims are recorded.
The transitional justice mechanism will mobilise the teams in Bansgadi, Bhurigaon, Gulariya and Rajapur by Monday.
A total of 274 complaints of disappearance were filed with the CIEDP from the district. CIEDP has recommended 255 for detailed investigation.
CIEDP Spokesperson Bishnu Pathak said the district was quite sensitive because of the highest number of disappearance cases, majority of them against the state. Bardiya also faces international scrutiny, with the district witnessing the maximum number of programmes related to disappearance run by international organisations such as the then OHCHR Nepal office and the UN, Pathak said.
“Representatives of the international community have expressed interest in accompanying us to Bardiya,” he said. “We have told them they can come independently and inspect our work from a distance, but cannot intervene. They will not be provided access to crucial information such as ante-mortem data and victims’ statements.”
After Bardiya, CIEDP will complete the first-phase of detailed probe in 56 districts covering 77 per cent of the complaints, said Pathak. Of the 3,197 complaints the CIEDP has received, it has recommended detailed investigation into 2,512 complaints.
The transitional justice mechanism, which aims to complete the first-phase of detailed investigations by the end of its tenure in February, however, will not be able to complete the probe in five districts — Humla, Jumla, Dolpa, Mugu and Kalikot. Pathak said with snowfall in the region, people had started migrating to lower areas, making investigation impossible. There are 75 complaints from the five districts.
Conflict Victims Common Platform Chairman Bhagiram Chaudhary, however, said the probe was just a formality. “Since just three months remain for expiry of its tenure, the CIEDP wants to show that it has done something,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on November 16, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.