TRC hands over 1,000 cases each to six provinces for probe

Kathmandu, June 24

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which received  58,052 complaints from conflict victims,  has handed over 1,000 complaints  to each of its  six provincial offices in Provinces 1,2,4,5, 6 and 7 for investigation.

One thousand complaints will be handed over to the Province 3 office  by mid-July when the transitional mechanism sets up office there, said TRC member Manchala Jha. She said the transitional mechanism had formed  a three-member committee in each province under joint attorneys to probe complaints.

The committees in the provinces will have to finish their probe within three months but their term can be extended if they give genuine reasons for  extension, said Jha. “We decided to set up provincial offices because bringing victims and witnesses to Kathmandu and recording their statements will be very challenging, time consuming and expensive,” she added.

The TRC will constantly monitor the investigation carried out by provincial units. “TRC members will visit provinces four to five times a month to oversee the work of the committees. If any province committee member is found to have acted with prejudice, we will not keep such a member in the committee,” she added. The TRC had asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide security to provincial offices and the files of the complainants. “The government has also asked for a detailed security plan,” Jha said.

The TRC will  expand  its office to the districts if the provincial committees’ work is satisfactory. “The provincial committees are our pilot projects. If they work effectively we will introduce the  same model in the districts provided the government gives us enough budget for expansion,” Jha added.

Conflict victim Suman Adhikari, however, said the TRC had formed committees in the provinces without careful planning. “If any member of the committees leaks information relating to complaints, it will adversely impact TRC’s investigation,” he added. He said the TRC has not ensured that the members selected in the committees are apolitical. “Members of the committee could leak information to the parties they are affiliated with. The TRC should have planned carefully before selecting members of the committee,” he added.

TRC member Jha said the transitional justice mechanism had initiated its investigation in the absence of a comprehensive TRC law, but when it is time to recommend reparation or reconciliation and prosecution, it would need a comprehensive law.  “We need amendment to the TRC law in three months or we cannot do the expected job,” she added.

The Supreme Court had passed an order on June 28, 2014 to make a law prohibiting amnesty for serious crimes. The government has not made amendments to the TRC act as per the SC’s verdict yet.