CIEDP to start exhumation of burial sites

Kathmandu, October 28

The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Commission said it would soon start the exhumation process of those victims, who were forcibly captured, disappeared, and subsequently buried after taking their lives during the Maoist insurgency.

The transitional justice instrument has collected at least 2,942 complaints of the insurgency era of disappearances. The whereabouts of the disappeared persons are yet to be known. Most of them were presumed to have been killed by the warring parties — either from state security forces or Maoist insurgents.

The technical aspects of the exhumation process has already begun as CIEDP has started hiring experts for excavating buried human remains. It has also started deploying security forces, imparting training for those involved in such process and mapping out possible excavation sites, CIEDP Spokesperson Bishnu Pathak told The Himalayan Times.

Meanwhile the CIEDP is also carrying out detailed investigation of the complaints it received from victims. According to him, almost 400 disappearance-related complaints have been investigated and remaining probe will be completed by December-end.

“Once we complete the detailed investigation of the complaints we have received, we will formally deploy our teams to hear cases from victims and locate possible sites for exhumation,” Pathak added. “By January next year, we will start field work of the exhumation process.”

He, however, made it clear that exhumation might begin only after April next year as technical preparations for the same might take some more time.

As part of the exhumation, ante-mortem data collection will kick off after January next year, which will also help support collection of the first-hand information from the concerned victims about the sites.

It’s understood that the CIEDP has already mapped out some 350 to 400 sites of such locations where victims of disappearance cases are possibly buried after being killed. Most of such crimes were committed by state security forces, including the Nepali Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police.

Pathak said it would be unwise to make public the possible exhumation sites. He, however, hinted that most of such locations were near army barracks in forests and in the gorges and streams near such barracks.

Likewise, Maoist insurgents had also abducted and killed many people before burying the corpses at different sites in forests and banks of streams.

“Victims have indicated possible locations of such sites in the complaints,” he added. “We expect to find more such sites when we visit the districts to fill up the anti-mortem data form, as part of the exhumation.”

As per international norms, if at least three or more than three corpses are buried at the same location, it’s called a mass grave and in Nepal’s case as well, many such mass grave sites have been located, according to CIEDP,

The CIEDP was unable to meet its work-schedule due to delay in enacting laws criminalising forcible disappearances.