‘Don’t delist serious insurgency-era crimes’

Kathmandu, November 17

Human rights defenders, civil society representatives and conflict victims have expressed serious concerns about the delisting of some serious insurgency era crimes from ‘heinous crimes’ in the proposed amendment bill of the TRC Act.

In a meeting with PM Dahal at his office today, the victims and rights defenders warned that a lasting peace wouldn’t ensue if justice was denied to insurgency victims.

The prime minister, however, told the victims and rights defenders that perpetrators of heinous crimes couldn’t evade justice and general amnesty wouldn’t be given to any serious insurgency-era crime.

He also said the government and his party, CPN-Maoist Centre were trying hard to resolve the outstanding tasks of the peace process through early amendment of the TRC act, but said ‘some internal and external’ factors were delaying the amendment draft bill from being tabled in the Parliament, according to a political source.

They had met the prime minister on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Maoist rebels and the government.

Representatives of Accountability Watch Committee, Conflict Victims Common Platform, NEFEJ, JuRI-Nepal, Conflict Victims Society for Justice, HURON, INHURED etc were present during the meeting. They submitted written concerns about the proposed amendment bill of the TRC Act.

Dahal is one of the signatories of the CPA, signed on November 21, 2006. The charter had paved the way for the Maoist rebels to join peaceful politics.

Earlier, in an interview with The Himalayan Times, Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha had accepted that the ‘crime against humanity’ provision had been removed from the proposed bill of the TRC Act, claiming that such incidents had not occurred during the Maoist insurgency.

The bill has already been drafted, but has not been shared with the concerned stakeholders and will be tabled in the House for approval.

Crime against humanity is an internationally accepted heinous crime along with rape, killing, torture and forcible disappearances.

Talking with The Himalayan Times, AWC Coordinator Charan Prasai said if ‘crimes against humanity’ is not incorporated as heinous crime; perpetrators of many war-era gruesome incidents such as the Madi massacre, issues of children being used as human shields during the war couldn’t be brought into the jurisdiction of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

According to him, victims and rights defenders also expressed concern about not being consulted while drafting the amendment bill.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz stressed the following international standards while concluding the transitional justice process in Nepal.

“Ten yrs after the CPA, challenges remain for the conflict affected. Internationally accepted Transitional Justice process isstill a must for Nepal,” she tweeted.

If crime against humanity is kept under the heinous crime category in the Act, senior Maoist leaders or government officials could be held responsible, even if the perpetrators of such crimes couldn’t be found or identified, according to a source.

In their concerns submitted to PM Dahal, the rights defenders and victims have also suggested incorporating cases of use of children in war as heinous crime, and said there should be no time limit for submission of cases in all types of war-era heinous crimes.

Meanwhile, rights defenders also demanded endorsement of the impeachment motion against Chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Lokman Singh Karki from the Parliament soon.