Kathmandu, June 2 Transitional justice bodies are likely to skip live testimony of top politicians accused of rights violations during the Maoist insurgency. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons will have audio-visual recording of the statements of political leaders, instead of summoning them to offices of the transitional justice bodies, citing security reasons, sources said. It is a significant development at a time when the capability of TRC and CIEDP to take action against those in power is being questioned by several quarters, including the victims and the international community. It is learnt that Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun and former prime ministers Sher Bahadur Deuba, Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai have been accused of gross human rights violations, which occurred during the decade-long Maoist insurgency. Deuba is the president of the main opposition Nepali Congress party, while Dahal is the chairman of CPN-Maoist Centre and Bhattarai is the coordinator of Naya Shakti Party. TRC and CIEDP have received hundreds of complaints against them for their alleged involvement in war-era crimes. “For security reasons we won’t summon top politicians at our office. Instead we’ll have audio-visual recording of their statements,” CIEDP spokesperson Bishnu Pathak told The Himalayan Times. TRC’s Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung didn’t categorically say that his commission would record statements of the politicians, but didn’t deny that either. “We have a provision of audio-visual testimony,” he told this daily. According to him, TRC will use the audio-video recording technique to record the statements of not only those who are in power and wield influence, but also of the victims and their witnesses, if necessary. “If any victim or witness perceives threat from the perpetrators and comes to fore to record statement, we will conduct their testimony secretly and without calling them to our offices,” Gurung added. He, however, made it clear that the TRC wouldn’t visit the residences or offices of those who are in power, but summons them at its own office if evidences proved their involvement. Since mid-April, TRC and CIEDP have been collecting complaints from the conflict victims and they have received 14,546 and 1,604 complaints, respectively by Thursday. After a preliminary investigation and registration of complaints to assess the genuineness and seriousness of the cases, these justice instruments would formally start the full investigation by recording statements of the alleged perpetrators, as well as the victims and witnesses. Pathak said CIEDP would start recording statements of perpetrators, victims and witnesses after mid-June, while Gurung said TRC would take “little more time” given the volume of complaints that his body received.
TRC, CIEDP may skip live testimony of top leaders for audio-visual recording
The Himalayan Times
Published: 04:01 am Jun 03, 2016