Govt pushing for pre-emptive amnesty for war crime accused

- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu
The government seems to be pushing for general amnesty even before facts are established and due process is met

Jun 3, 2016-The government is working to enact a law allowing the Cabinet to recommend amnesty on the war-era cases pre-emptively without ascertaining the truth surrounding the crime. In a proposed draft of the law, that the Post has seen, the government seems to be pushing for general amnesty even before facts are established and due process is met. This is likely to deprive families of victims of closure--rendering objective behind the truth and reconciliation process pointless.

The draft bill also a provision to waive charges against the armed groups, which were outside the Constituent Assembly, with whom the government reached an agreement to bring them on board during the constitution writing process. 

There are the provisions that allow the case withdrawal of the cases of the rights violators during a decade long conflict. The proposed draft bill to grant pardons, suspend, commute or remit any sentence has also proposed to drop political charges against those individuals, affiliated with political parties and otherwise, who participated in different protests organised till September 20, 2015. 

The draft bill has proposed a five-member committee to suggest the cases to be withdrawn. A retired chief judge or judge of Appellate Court will lead the committee, 

while a Joint Attorney General, a DIG of Nepal Police,  an advocate nominated by the ministry will be other members. A joint secretary of the Home Ministry will be member secretary. 

Article 276 of the new constitution has a provision that authorises the President to grant pardons, suspend, commute or remit sentence as per the act. “We need an act to implement the constitutional provision,” said advocate Dinmani Pokhrel, “We need not see political motive behind it.”

However, the provision to pardon and withdrawal of cases contradict the Supreme Court verdict. The apex court has clearly said that there would not be amnesty on serious rights violation. 

Besides, the court verdict states consent of victim is important to consider amnesty. However, the draft bill has not mentioned anything about the victims. 

Contrary to Pokhrel’s claim it to be constitutional provision, the draft bill has proposed a special provision to deal with conflict-era cases. Clause 8.2(1) has also mentioned that cases of murder after taking hostage, disappearance, torture and rape are non-pardonable, which is in line with the proposed amendments to the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act-2014. 

The exiting Act has defined abduction and taking of hostage, causing mutilation or disability, forceful eviction from house and land or any other kind of displacement, any inhuman acts inconsistent with the international human rights or humanitarian law and looting, possession, damage or arson of private or public property as acts that amount to gross violation of rights.

Published: 03-06-2016 08:19

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