Writ against criteria for dropping complaints

  • transitional justice
- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu

Sep 28, 2016-The Truth and Reconciliation Commission had barely begun screening of complaints when a group of conflict victims lodged a writ petition at the Supreme Court against the standard guidelines for shelving the complaints.

Fifteen victims, including former Constituent Assembly member Binay Dhwaj Chanda, on Monday registered the petition demanding a stay order against the guidelines, arguing that the commission should look into all the complaints it has received.

The petitioners have argued that the criteria would exclude a significant number of complaints from the investigation process, depriving the victims of their right to justice. 

The TRC has received some 55,000 complaints, of which around 1,200 complaints are reportedly shelved at first sight. 

“Since the victims have already registered their complaints, the commission should investigate all of them,” said Gyanendra Aran, advocate and one of the petitioners. “The criteria have been set up in a way crimes of certain nature do not fall under its jurisdiction.”

In the petition, the victims have argued that the criteria excludes those who were extorted, forced to leave their profession, child soldiers, and those who were used as human shields in crossfire. Land seizure and displacement also do not fall under the criteria of investigation according to the guidelines, they claimed.

The commission has set the criteria to shelve anonymous complaints, meaning that proceedings on the complaints will be suspended if nobody comes forward to verify the occurrence of incidents.

As per the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, the commission has been mandated to look into incidents that took place between 1996 and 2006. 

According to the guidelines, the incidents should be directly linked with the armed conflict. The commission will postpone proceeding in cases if they are not related to the warring parties--the then rebels and the state.

Besides, cases sub judice in court do not fall under the purview of the commission, which has also decided not to look into the cases in which verdicts has been issued.

Clause 21 of the Act and Rule 7 of the commission’s regulations state that the complaints will be shelved “if there is no sufficient ground to take action upon conducting an investigation into a complaint or information filed with or provided to the commission.”

The commission has been demanding some basis to pursue the cases, such as document trails or someone who could suggest us the sources.

The victims have serious concerns over the provision of shelving the complaints against the action taken by the warring groups within their respective organisations. 

Published: 28-09-2016 07:40

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