Truth, reconciliation bill to be tabled in parliament

Kathmandu, July 19:

The government is all set to introduce a bill in the interim parliament to constitute a high-powered Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as per the agreement on the Peace Accord signed in November.

The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction on Monday distributed the draft bill of TRC among the members of the Peace and Reconciliation Consultation Committee, formed by the government to assist the ministry on matters related to the peace process, for discussion.

The aim of the TRC is to make public those behind serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity; put an end to impunity by bringing the human rights violators and those involved in crimes against humanity to justice so as to remind others that nobody would repeat such crimes in the future; provide justice to the conflict victims and provide them due compensation and maintain social harmony, tolerance and brotherhood between the tormentors and victims in society.

A two-year tenure has been proposed for the commission with the possibility of one-year extension. It will come into effect on the 45th day of its authentication. TRC will cover the decade-old People’s War (12 February 1996 to 21 November 2006) during which human rights violations and crimes against humanity occurred.

TRC’s central office will be established in Kathmandu and its branches can also be set up in

other parts of the country if it deems necessary. TRC shall have no more than seven members, including its chairman.

The government will form a three-member committee to recommend names for the TRC.

The selection panel will recommend to the government names of the TRC from among rights activists, psychologists, legal experts, civil society leaders, victims, relief experts, sociologists, and women. The TRC members should not be members of any political party, should have a record of high moral character and should be committed to human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The commission will probe only the cases of human rights violation and crimes against humanity that occurred during the period of conflict. TRC will not investigate into the cases already settled by the courts of law, sub-judice cases and others that occurred before or after the conflict period.

TRC’s task

• It may play a role of reconciliation between the guilty and victims by encouraging them to confess before the victims. The commission may also make the guilty compensate the victims.

• It may recommend legal action against someone found guilty of human rights violation or crime against humanity. But it may not recommend action if the guilty and victims have reconciled.

• It may not recommend any action if a person is found guilty of committing rights violations in the course of carrying out his/her duty or achieving political mission. But the TRC may not forgive a person found guilty of inhumanely killing a person after abducting him or her or indulging in inhuman and cruel torture or rape.