Govt, parties ‘have put TJ on backburner’

Kathmandu, October 21

What actually propels the country’s top political leadership to renege on their oft-repeated commitment to reconstitute the transitional justice mechanisms and amend the TJ Act could be anyone’s guess. A brief meeting held today after months of hiatus also let an opportunity pass by, again.

Top leaders, including Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, discussed the issue in a meeting at Baluwatar, but the talks failed to yield any tangible outcome.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons have remained vacant ever since their members retired in April.

Political parties had on August 21 reached an understanding whereby the CIEDP would have the same old team, while the TRC would be led by former attorney general Raman Shrestha.

On September 16, the government had presented a modality for holding broad-based consultations in all seven provinces and Kathmandu to gather inputs for amendment to the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act.

However, both these processes have been halted as the government and parties have not held serious talks on the issue. NC leader Ramesh Lekhak said the parties had agreed to amend the TJ Act on the basis of consensus, but that needed intensive talks. “Talks have not taken place for a while. Today’s meeting also dwelt on the issue briefly,” he said.

Conflict victims have demanded that the processes of appointing TRC and  CIEDP members and amending the act should be taken ahead simultaneously. But top leaders seem only interested in appointing their ‘yes-men’ as members of the commissions, resulting in the present stalemate, they said.

Ram Kumar Bhandari, founder and director of the National Network of Families of the Disappeared and Missing Persons, said the government and parties were least interested in act amendment or the consultation process.

Sharmila Karki, spokesperson for the independent committee formed to recommend new TRC, CIEDP members, said names of the shortlisted applicants would be published soon. But sources said chances of publication of the names were slim before Tihar.