CIEDP completes first-phase probe in 39 districts

  • Conflict victims ask how long they will take to complete complex tasks such as taking statements, excavation and exhumation

Kathmandu, July 29

The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons has completed the first phase of detailed investigation in 39 districts.

As part of the first phase of detailed investigation, teams mobilised in various districts for investigation have so far collected ante-mortem data and information through story-telling from more than 90 per cent of the complainants in these districts.

According to the commission, information from the remaining complainants could not be collected as some had relocated to other places while others had gone to India for employment. “We have asked the local peace committees to trace the remaining complainants. Once they come in contact, we will collect information from them,” said CIEDP Spokesperson Bishnu Pathak.

The commission now plans to mobilise teams in additional districts in the next two weeks in line with its target of covering all the districts by the time its tenure ends in February next year.

In the second phase of the detailed investigation, the commission plans to take statements from alleged perpetrators and conduct open as well as closed public hearing. In the third phase, the commission will conduct excavation and exhumation.

“Exhumation and excavation will be conducted in emblematic cases, but investigations will be conducted into each and every complaint,” said Pathak, adding, “The public hearing will also be conducted at designated locations only.”

Meanwhile, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has so far completed primary investigation into 2,600 cases.

The TRC, which had opened field offices in each of the seven provinces last year, now plans to open additional 43 offices in various districts to expedite investigations. It also plans to mobilise additional work teams in districts from where more than 1,000 complaints have been filed, according to TRC member Lila Udasi Khanal.

It has been more than three-and-a-half years since these two transitional justice mechanisms were established, but they have failed to complete the investigation even into a single case for various reasons such as lack of financial and human resources, necessary legislation and their internal weaknesses.

According to Chairman of Conflict Victims Common Platform Suman Adhikari, although the commissions have been making big claims, what they are doing now is something they should have done in the first year.

“What they are doing now is very important, but they are preliminary things,” he said. “If they took three years to do these preliminary tasks, just imagine how long they will take to do complex tasks such as taking statements from alleged perpetrators and excavating and exhuming?” he added.

He said the question was not about how many districts the commissions have visited, but how close to truth they have reached. “They are collecting information from victims just to complete formality,” he said.