Kathmandu, January 18
The recommendation committee constituted to nominate office bearers of the two transitional justice mechanisms –Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on the Enforced Disappeared Persons — today submitted its nominations.
According to recommendation committee member Prem Bahadur Khadka, the committee recommended Ganesh Dutta Bhatta as chairperson of TRC and Yubraj Subedi as chairperson of CIEDP.
Members of the TRC include Prachanda Raj Pradhan, Mana Dahal, Bishnu Pokharel and Govinda Gautam.
Similarly, members of the CIEDP include Gangadhar Adhikari, Sunil Ranjan Singh, Sarita Thapa and Bishnu Bhandari.
The committee has recommended all new office bearers for the two transitional justice bodies without repeating any former office bearer. Conflict victims had warned against recommending previous office bearers in the two transitional justice mechanism bodies.
Founding Chair of Conflict Victims Common Platform Suman Adhikari called the nomination of office bearers of the two transitional justice mechanisms a farce as it was done without amending the TRC Act. He said the recommendation committee had ignored the conflict victims’ suggestions and thus the act of nomination was like rubbing salt in the wounds of conflict victims.
“Former office bearers failed to perform the assigned tasks due to lack of laws and their inefficiency. These two issues were not resolved when the recommendation committee nominated office bearers in the two transitional justice mechanisms. Only those people who have expertise in human rights issues should be nominated in these bodies,” Adhikari said and added that the recommendation committee had repeated the past when political parties recruited their cadres in the TRC and CIEDP. Now, the government will have to endorse the names of the newly nominated office bearers of the transitional justice mechanisms.
The committee was formed on 26 March 2019 to nominate office bearers in the TRC and CIEDP within three months, but it failed to do so due to differences between the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and Nepali Congress over nominees. Conflict victims criticised political leaders for interfering in the work of the recommendation committee. The posts of chairpersons and members of the TRC and CIEDP had remained vacant since 14 April 2019.
Conflict victims had demanded that the appointments be made only after amending the TRC Act.
The two transitional justice bodies formed in 2015 to investigate conflict-era rights violations collected 63,000 complaints, but failed to fully investigate even a single case. Their failure has been blamed on the government, which neither provided the two justice mechanisms adequate human and financial resources nor brought necessary legislation.
The internal weaknesses of the commissions have also been blamed.
TRC chair nominee Bhatta is a constitutional expert and an associate professor of Tribhuvan University. He has been teaching law students for the last 30 years. Bhatta is a resident of Kathmandu who hails from Dadeldhura district.
Subedi, who has an MCL degree in criminal justice system from Delhi University, is a former judge of Butwal High Court. Subedi is a resident of Anamnagar, Kathmandu, and originally hails from Bhojpur district. He retired from service one-and-a-half years ago.
A version of this article appears in print on January 19, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.