Kathmandu, January 4
Former chief justice Om Prakash Mishra-led Recommendation Committee is likely to nominate office bearers for the two transitional justice mechanisms — Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons — within a week or so, according to a source.
Recommendation Committee member Sharmila Karki said the panel was preparing to complete the nomination process at the earliest, but she did not know if it would be done within a week. She said the committee would hold two final meetings next week to finalise names of office bearers for the two transitional justice bodies. The committee will nominate five office bearers, including chairpersons for the TRC and equal member of office bearers for the CIEDP.
Conflict victims and rights activists said if the committee recommended names of the two transitional justice mechanisms without amending the TRC Act ignoring the Supreme Court’s verdict that the TRC Act should be amended to ensure there would be no amnesty in cases of serious human rights violations, then the new office bearers would not be able to complete the assigned tasks.
Founder Chairperson of Conflict Victims Common Platform Suman Adhikari said conflict victims had waited all these months hoping that the committee would nominate competent office bearers in the TRC and CIEDP only after the TRC Act was amended. However, the committee’s preparations had dashed the hopes of conflict victims.
“I heard that the committee was going to pick the names from shortlisted candidates. If this happens, the new office bearers won’t be able to do the required job because competent candidates who can do the assigned jobs, have not applied as the TRC Act has not been amended,” Adhikari said and added that the government should especially request competent persons to serve in the transitional justice mechanism bodies.
He said the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs had told the conflict victims that it would start consultations with victims in all the provinces from next week, but it was not certain when the government would draft the TRC Act (Amendment) Bill and when the actual amendment to the Act would be made.
“The government is not doing anything substantial to address transitional justice issues. The law ministry’s decision to hold consultation with victims could be a deliberate attempt by the government to avoid criticism from the UN human rights body where the world community would question Nepal’s human rights obligations,” Adhikari said, adding that Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had told the UN human rights body in Geneva that the government would meet its human rights obligations, but the government had not done anything so far.
Human rights lawyer Om Prakash Aryal said the government was deliberately delaying the process of amending the TRC Act to prevent foreign countries from applying universal jurisdiction in serious human rights violation cases. “The government wants to give the impression to the world community that it is doing something to address the issues of conflict victims, but it is not doing anything substantial,” Aryal said and added that if the top leaders did not allow prosecution of individual leaders and security personnel responsible for war crimes, those leaders and security personnel responsible for making policy decision to kill people so as to create terror would not be held guilty of war crimes.
A version of this article appears in print on January 05, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.