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TRC ignored due process while probing war-era cases: Victims

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Dec 5, 2017-Victims of the war-era crimes have expressed their dissatisfaction over the investigation carried out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)—one of the two transitional justice mechanisms, claiming that it has not followed the due process before wrapping up the probe.

The TRC provincial offices have so far completed investigation into 500 cases from provinces 1 and 2 and forwarded them to the central office for review before recommending them to the government and the Office of the Attorney General for reparation and legal actions. The victims say the TRC provincial offices have only verified the cases with the victims and completed the investigation without even registering statements from the accused.

“We repeatedly expressed our reservation about the process, but no steps were taken to correct them,” said Rupesh Shah secretary of Conflict Victims Common Platform, an umbrella body of 17 organisations of the conflict victims. Shah, who is also coordinator of the platform in Sunsari district, claimed a majority of the investigations at the provincial level did not follow the due process.

The TRC, formed on February 10, 2015, has received a total of 60,000 complaints. After setting up offices in all seven provinces in June, the commission had assigned each of them to investigate into 1,000 cases in the first phase. Manchala Jha is supervising the investigation process in provinces 1 and 2, Lila Udasi in provinces 3 and 7, Madhabi Bhatta in provinces 4 and 6 and Shree Krishna Subedi in province 5.

The investigations have been thorough, with each case taking up to 3-4 days, Jha said, adding that both the victims and accused were called in to record their statements during the process.

Each provincial office is supervised by a team led by a joint attorney general with eight other government officials and two experts from the sector. Members at the TRC, however, also maintain that all the required process have been completed before recommending the cases to the central office. “It’s extremely sensitive issue and we are not in a position to disclose every process now. However, I can confirm that every single process that is needed by each case has been duly followed before completing the investigation,” said Jha, adding “the cases recommended to the central office will be reviewed all over again and further investigation will be done if necessary”.

The extended one-year term of both the commissions expires on February 10 and the TRC Act needs to be amended for another extension which is possible only after a new Parliament is elected. Besides, the commissions need to be equipped with legislations as per the Supreme Court orders.

Published: 05-12-2017 08:41

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