Kathmandu, March 10 Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal today said the two transitional justice mechanisms would be restructured with institutional representation and participation of conflict victims. Through an amendment to the Transitional Justice Act, the government has extended the tenure of members of the two commissions till April 13 and tenure of the commissions by one year until February 2020, with provisions for another one-year extension. As per the act, a five-member recommendation committee headed by a former Supreme Court chief justice should be formed to recommend new members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons. The recommendation will then have to be approved by the Cabinet. Formation of the existing commissions had taken seven months from the date of the formation of the recommendation committee. The Cabinet had formed the committee on 16 June 2014, but members of commissions were appointed only on 9 February 2015. They took the oath of office and secrecy on 10 February 2015. Victims have been voicing concerns about a possible vacuum in the commissions after the expiry of the tenure of their members on April 13 given the time-consuming process of the formation of the recommendation committee and recommending members. They also said that such a situation would result in the testimonies ending up in the hands of the bureaucracy, raising the chances of confidentiality of crucial evidences being compromised. The commissions have collected around 65,000 complaints. Against this backdrop, Dhakal said the government had begun the process of forming the recommendation committee.“The new commissions will be formed with institutional representation and participation of conflict victims,” he said at an event for the screening of a documentary titled ‘Unrelenting Pain’ organised by the Conflict Victims Common Platform. “The recommendation committee will be formed bearing in mind the victims’ sentiments, and the new commission members will be acceptable to all.” Conceding that the government could not prioritise tasks related to the amendment of the Transitional Justice Act and restructuring the commissions, the minister reiterated that the act would be amended based on five factors — Comprehensive Peace Accord, Nepal’s national and international obligations related to human rights, decisions and orders of the Supreme Court, sentiments of conflict victims and Nepali context. The minister also urged victims not to get divided. He said elements in favour of prolonging the transitional justice process to serve their vested interests should be discouraged.
TJ bodies to have victims’ representatives: Minister
Published: 08:56 am Mar 11, 2019