‘TJ act amendment will address victims’ concerns’

Kathmandu, January 17

A meeting between top leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the main opposition Nepali Congress today agreed to move ahead with the amendment of the Transitional Justice Act, in line with the inputs gathered during consultations with stakeholders on January 7, in all seven provinces.

The meeting was participated by NCP co-chairpersons KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal and leaders Subas Chandra Nembang and Khimlal Devkota. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and leaders Minendra Rijal and Ramesh Lekhak represented the main opposition party.

Nembang said Devkota, Lekhak and Rijal, who had participated in the consultations, briefed the PM about the conflict victims’ concerns during the meeting.

“The meeting agreed that both the ruling and opposition parties are on the same page when it comes to taking the transitional justice to its logical conclusion,” said Nembang. “Based on the inputs gathered in the consultations, the amendment bill will be tabled in the ongoing Bill Session of the House.”

Victims of the decade-long Maoist conflict that ran from 1996 to 2006 have long been demanding that the act be amended in line with the Supreme Court verdicts and Nepal’s international obligations, by incorporating their concerns.

Lack of necessary legislation has been one of the reasons for the failure of two transitional justice bodies —Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons — to fully investigate even a single case in more than four years of their formation. The two bodies have collected more than 63,000 complaints on conflict-era rights violation.

In this context, Nembang said the act would be amended in such a way that it would address victims’ concerns, the SC verdicts, and Nepal’s international obligations.

The SC, in its verdicts on different occasions, 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 enactment of laws; cases before the court cannot be transferred to the TRC or the CIEDP; dignified and respectable reparation for victims; and no reconciliation without the consent of victims.

Lekhak said the meeting also agreed that the processes of act amendment and appointment at the TRC and CIEDP would move ahead simultaneously. The two commissions have remained vacant ever since their members retired in April last year.