Conflict victims threaten to move court against TRC

Kathmandu, August 22

Conflict victims have threatened to move court against the Truth and Reconciliation Commission if it doesn’t revise a recently endorsed guideline regarding shelving probe into war-era cases.

The TRC had recently finalised a procedure to select the insurgency-era human rights violation cases that can be put on hold on several grounds, including lack of evidence and inadequate details.

According to the provisions mentioned in the procedure, hundreds of conflict-era cases are likely to be shelved without the transitional justice mechanism conducting any inquiry. “We have serious reservations against the TRC’s procedure on shelving probe into conflict-era rights violation cases,” Chairman of Conflict Victims’ Common Platform Suman Adhikari told The Himalayan Times.

“Any move of the TRC should be victim-centric. It seems the guideline has been brought with an intent to ensure impunity to as many perpetrators as it desires,” he alleged.

As per the procedure, even those insurgency-era cases would not be examined if these were not directly related to clashes between Maoist insurgents and security forces.

Complaints such as use of coercive tactics to force resignation, involvement in insurgency, confessing to leaking information, threats, psychological torture and extortion will not be considered for further investigation.

The Conflict Victims’ Common Platform, a joint forum of over a dozen conflict-victims’ groups yesterday consulted the concerned stakeholders on how to pressure TRC to revise and make it more victim-centric.

“First, we will request the TRC to revise the procedure itself,” he added. “If our suggestion is not heard, we will go to the court.”

Human rights defenders have also backed conflict victims, stating that the procedure is not as per the ruling of the Supreme Court, nor does it meet international standards for transitional justice.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Charan Prasai, Coordinator of Accountability Watch Committee, dubbed the procedure ‘problematic’. According to him, it spells injustice for most of the conflict victims.

Prasai said, “If it’s not corrected, we don’t think TRC can ensure justice to the victims of the Maoist insurgency.” TRC member Madhabi Bhatta has demanded that the guideline be revised, saying that hundreds of genuine victims will be denied of justice if the provision is implemented.

Earlier, TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung had told this daily that the procedure could be reviewed if deemed necessary. However, he claimed that TRC was a mechanism to take up only specific conflict-era cases where both the Maoist rebels and state’s forces were involved.

Other regular cases shall be dealt through regular mechanisms such as the National Human Rights Commission and courts, according to him.