Upper House endorses Truth and Reconciliation Bill

KATHMANDU: The bill relating to inquiry into the enforced disappearance of people and the truth and reconciliation was passed by a meeting of the National Assembly (NA) today.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal tabled the bill in the meeting that was postponed twice until the lawmakers present at the third session voted in favor of the bill.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had ordered the government to amend the act in line with international standards.

The apex court ruled that there should not be amnesty for grave human rights violations such as extra-judicial killing, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and other acts of sexual violence; the statute of limitations for grave offences must be removed; cases recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared  Persons (CIEDP) must be prosecuted; torture and enforced disappearance must be criminalised through the enactment of laws; cases before court cannot be transferred to the TRC or the CIEDP; dignified and respectable reparation for victims; and reconciliation cannot be made without the consent of victims.

The TRC and the CIEDP, which were formed in February 2015 to investigate conflict-era rights violations, have so far failed to completely investigate even a single case. And one of the major reasons for this failure is lack of necessary legislation, besides crunch of human and financial resources.

Of more than 63,000 complaints filed with the TRC, it has carried out preliminary investigation into just under 3,000 complaints.

Of the 3,197 complaints the CIEDP has received, it has recommended 2,512 complaints for detailed investigation.

The two commissions had reasoned that they can function well only if they are ensured act amendment, adequate budget and human resources.