TRC lobbies for extended offices in federal states to probe war-era cases

Kathmandu, November 22

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has lobbied to set up extended offices in all federal provinces to investigate insurgency-era rights violations cases.

If the TRC’s extended offices are established as proposed, the commission will need to send back complaints collected from conflict victims to its extended offices in all seven federal provinces from the centre.

TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung said the transitional justice body had sought human and financial resources from the government to establish its extended offices in each federal province, where seven high courts are being set up.

According to a source, TRC has proposed to set up offices in Biratnagar (Province 1), Janakpur (Province 2), Hetauda (Province 3), Pokhara (Province 4), Dang (Province 5), Surkhet (Province 6) and Dipayal (Province 7).

Gurung claimed that the idea of setting up extended offices was to expedite investigation into conflict-era rights violation cases at the local level.

At least 57,753 complaints have been registered with the TRC seeking justice against then Maoist insurgency-era criminal offences. Gurung said the number could further rise and added that the commission was receiving complaints from conflict victims via the District Administration Offices.

A TRC member, however, questioned the intent behind seeking to establish seven extended offices at a time when the commission’s mandate is about to expire and it is technically unable to carry out the given responsibilities in the absence of a compatible law.

If its tenure is not renewed or extended, the TRC’s two-year mandate to collect war-era criminal cases, investigate, recommend necessary action against perpetrators and reparation for victims will expire after February 9.

An amendment bill to make the TRC Act compatible has been prepared, but not tabled in the Parliament apparently due to differences on some of its provisions with the governing collation Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Gurung said resolving all conflict-era cases would be impossible if the TRC’s tenure was not extended.

He further said the TRC had sought needful budget to set up its extended offices, manage staff and other logistics in all the extended offices from the finance ministry. “We hope they will allocate the budget soon,” he said.