Kathmandu, July 20
The committee to recommend office bearers of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons is likely to nominate office bearers by August 15.
Member of the committee Prakash Osti said the committee was taking time to nominate office bearers because it wanted to address the nine reasons behind the failure of the erstwhile office bearers. “We don’t want to repeat mistakes of the previous recommendation committee,” Osti said and added that although the committee had found probable names among 57 candidates suitable as members of the two bodies — the TRC and CIEDP — the committee had not found anybody who could shoulder the responsibility of chairpersons of the two transitional justice mechanisms.
“We want persons acceptable to all sides — Nepali Army, Nepal Police, former rebels, conflict victims and the international community — to lead the two bodies.” Osti added that if such persons were not named TRC and CIEDP chairs, the new office bearers would again fail.
Osti said the recommendation committee wanted to select members who could take decisions independently without being influenced by party leaders.
“In the past, office bearers of the two bodies would consult political leaders before endorsing or rejecting any decision. We want to avoid this,” Osti added.
He said transitional justice mechanisms were led by high-profile credible persons in South Africa, East Timor and in most conflict-hit countries.
Nepal should also follow similar practice.
Osti said the recommendation committee had finalised the nomination manual incorporating some key concerns of Conflict Victims’ Common Platform.
The manual should help in picking the right candidate, he argued.
Founding Chair of CVCP Suman Adhikari said victims had been reminding the government to nominate transitional justice mechanism office bearers only after amending the TRC Act as per the verdicts of the Supreme Court, yet the government was in no mood to amend the Act. “One reason behind failure of the TRC and CIEDP was lack of amendment in the TRC Act. If the government moves ahead without amending the law, the new office bearers will again fail to deliver justice,” he argued.
The SC had ordered the government to amend the TRC Act to ensure there was no amnesty in serious human rights violation cases.
Adhikari said the recommendation committee was delaying the nomination mainly because they were looking for people who could secure acquittal of some leaders who could be found guilty of conflict era crimes. “We want people acceptable to all sides to be office bearers of the two bodies,” he said.
The recommendation committee will have to recommend five office bearers in TRC, including one chairperson and equal number of office bearers in the CIEDP.
Knowledgeable sources said the committee was taking time to nominate office bearers because it was awaiting political consensus on their appointments.
A version of this article appears in print on July 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.