Dahal for appointing new faces to TRC

Kathmandu, November 21

Co-chair of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal today said there would  be new office bearers in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but former office bearers of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons could be reappointed.

Addressing a programme organised by Conflict Victims Common Platform here today, Dahal said he wanted the former office bearers of the CIEDP to be reappointed as they had told him they would conclude their investigation in six months and there were not many complaints against them unlike office bearers of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Dahal made the remarks after conflict victims complained that old office bearers of the two transitional justice mechanisms had failed to do the assigned jobs and demanded new office bearers.

Dahal added that top leaders were debating whether there should be new office bearers in the CIEDP or former office bearers should be reappointed. He said the peace process would not come to a logical conclusion unless conflict victims trusted the transitional justice mechanism. “Political leaders have realised that without the participation of conflict victims, the issue will not be resolved,” he said.

Dahal  said he was never in favour of granting blanket amnesty in cases of serious human rights violation.

He said was ready to take responsibility for the good and bad things that happened during the conflict and if he was held guilty, he would face punishment.

Dahal said during the drafting of the Interim Constitution, some leaders were in favour of writing a ‘forget and forgive’ clause in the constitution to close the chapter of transitional justice, but it was he who had said the transitional justice mechanism was a complicated and sensitive issue and it should be resolved through commissions.

Responding to conflict victims’ contention that they were losing faith in transitional justice as the process had prolonged for too long, Dahal said like other tasks of the peace process, transitional justice would also be completed soon. “Your suggestions and grievances have created favourable environment to bring it to logical conclusion,” he added.

Dahal said leaders were ready to move the process of appointing new office bearers in the two transitional mechanism bodies and amendment to the TRC Act side by side.

Senior NCP leader Madhav Kumar Nepal said Nepal’s peace process had become a model for rebels of other countries, particularly for the rebels of the Philippines and Columbia.

Nepali Congress leader Krishna Sitaula said new office bearers of the TRC and CIEDP should be able to use their conscience to complete the investigation.

CVCP Chair Bhagiram Chaudhari said the government should win the confidence of conflict victims. Founding Chairperson of CVCP Suman Adhikari said there should be new office bearers in both the commissions.

Security analyst Geja Sharma Wagle said the two transitional justice mechanisms were not victim-friendly and the new process should ensure ownership of conflict victims.

Bhim Bahadur Basnet, whose two sons disappeared during conflict, said leaders had no sympathy for conflict victims. Many other conflict victims who spoke during the programme also criticised political leaders for prolonging the transitional justice process.