TJ bodies place demands before extending term

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Tenures of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons expire on February 7

Jan 30, 2018-Nine days before the end of their three-year tenure, the transitional justice (TJ) bodies are seeking political commitment from the major parties to the investigation process before requesting the government for another extension of their term.

The three-year term of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) expires on February 7.

The ordinance authenticated by the President last week to amend the Acts governing the two commissions for extending their tenure requires the transitional justice bodies to write to the government for formalising a new one-year term.

Both the commissions have blamed non-cooperation from the government and the political parties for their poor performance in looking into the war-era cases of human rights violations.

Conflict victims also say that further extension is meaningless without an amendment to the legislation that would incorporate the Supreme Court’s 2015 order to remove amnesty provisions. The two transitional justice bodies have not managed to undertake much work, besides collecting around 63,000 complaints from conflict victims.

Lack of resources and mandate to spend, coupled with inadequate staff and non-cooperation from political parties, are the reasons the commissions have cited for failing to investigate into a single case completely since their formation in February 2015.

“This is why we are seeking the commitment from the major parties before deciding on term extension,” said IB Gurung, a member of the CIEDP. Commission officials met Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba on Sunday and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli on Monday while they are calling on CPN (Maoist Centre) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday.

Gurung said Deuba and Oli have assured them of “every support necessary for investigation”. “We will make a final decision after listening to Dahal,” he added.

Gurung said it was impossible for the commissions to function unless three major parties come together in support of the two commissions. A decision on tenure extension is expected within a couple of days.

“We are most likely to hold a meeting in a couple of days to decide on tenure extension,” said Manchala Jha, a member of the TRC. Both the commissions will seek a one-year extension while requesting the government to clear the hurdles to probe.

The CIEDP has begun detailed investigation into hardly 207 cases among the 3,093 filed to it while the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which received 60,298 cases, has completed preliminary probe into 827 cases only.

The conflict victims are in no mood to let the TRC and the CIEDP off the hook easily. They state that these commissions have not performed adequately even within the remit that has been offered to them, pointing to the extremely slow progress in investigations.

They are also concerned about some of the decisions taken. Most recently, they opposed the CIEDP’s decision to classify 400 cases of disappeared persons as cases of killing without any investigation. The Conflict Victims Common Platform is now demanding that the TRC and the CIEDP prepare progress reports to demonstrate what has been accomplished so far.

TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung warned recently Nepal cannot avoid intervention from international humanitarian organisations including the United Nations if the transitional justice process does not adhere to the international standards of investigation.

Published: 30-01-2018 08:10

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