HoR endorses TRC, CIEDP ordinance

Kathmandu, March 30

A meeting of the House of Representatives today endorsed an ordinance presented to amend (first) the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014.

Minister for Law, Justice, and Federal Affairs Sher Bahadur Tamang presented the proposal seeking endorsement of the ordinance which extended the tenure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons by one year.

The two transitional justice mechanisms have been hamstrung by lack of necessary legislation and the government’s failure to provide adequate human and financial resources. As a result, the TRC and the CIEDP have failed to completely investigate even a single complaint even three years after their formation.

The commissions, as well as victims, have long been demanding that the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 be amended in line with the Supreme Court verdict and the commissions be equipped with necessary resources, both human and financial.

The Supreme Court has ruled that there should not be amnesty for grave human rights violations such as extra-judicial killing, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and other acts of sexual violence; the statute of limitations for grave offences must be removed; cases recommended by the TRC and the CIEDP must be prosecuted; torture and enforced disappearance must be criminalised through the enactment of laws; cases before court cannot be transferred to the TRC or the CIEDP; dignified and respectable reparation for victims; and reconciliation cannot be made without the consent of victims.

The Office of the Attorney General has expedited efforts for the adoption of necessary legislation to address issues plaguing the two commissions.

Attorney General Attorney General Agni Kharel said the government would soon table a replacement bill incorporating ‘major points’ of the SC verdict. He said the replacement bill would clearly distinguish between serious human rights violations and other types of crimes, and make a clear provision for reparations.

AG Kharel also said that the government was also preparing to bring all the cases currently sub judice in other courts to a special court to be formed which would only look after transitional justice cases.

“Cases of similar nature looked after by different courts might not ensure uniformity in decisions,” he said. “Such a court will be formed by the Judicial Council. Judges will also be assigned by the council.”

AG Kharel also said that the government would criminalise torture and enforced disappearance through the enactment of laws in line with the SC verdict.

Of the total 3,093 complaints received, the CIEDP has recommended 2,258 complaints for detailed investigations after completing preliminary investigations. Of them, detailed investigations have begun into more than 250 complaints.

On the other hand, the TRC has received more than 60,000 complaints and it is currently investigating into 7,000 of them. It has set up an office in each province for the job. TRC is also planning to set up offices in each of the 77 districts to expedite investigations.