Prosecution in serious rights violations, says PM

- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu

Nov 18, 2016-

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has assured rights defenders that the transitional justice law would be amended in line with the court verdict, national and international laws and transitional justice norms.

Around two dozen rights defenders met the PM at his residence on Thursday to urge him to expedite the transitional justice process, which has been stuck in the lack of legal clarity in relation to transitional justice norms.

The government has not amended the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act in line with the Supreme Court verdict. The apex court last year struck down a dozen provisions of the Act that are inconsistent with international laws and transitional justice norms. Dahal also ruled out blanket amnesty in cases of serious human rights violation. “But it does not mean all the rights violators will be sent behind the bars,” Dahal told the rights defenders.

Nepal is yet to criminalise torture and the act of disappearance, nor has it removed the statute of limitation on reporting conflict-era cases.

The delegation led by Charan Prasai handed the PM recommendations for amendment to the Transitional Justice Act, which includes barring the commission from shelving the complaints before investigation.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, formed 21 months ago to look into insurgency-related incidents, have received over 60,000 complaints from conflict victims.

The commissions, which have been mandated to probe cases related to the Maoist insurgency that occurred between 1996 and 2006, have received hundreds of complaints, which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the commissions according to the existing laws. Rights defenders argue that the commissions should look into all the complaints and collect evidences instead of shelving them at the first sight.

“PM Dahal appears positive to our concerns,” Prasai said after the meeting. “But we are not sure if he is really serious about concluding the transitional justice process, which is a major component of the peace process.”

Dahal took the office with promises to conclude the remaining tasks of the peace process. His party CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress had signed an agreement to “amend laws related to transitional justice mechanisms to make their work more effective, to provide compensation for victims of the decade-long conflict”. None of them were achieved in more than the first 100 days of his office. 

“What I gather from the meeting is that the transitional justice process will be delayed,” said Prasai. PM Dahal did not appear to be bothered by the delay. He even told the delegates that “time is healing”, suggesting a prolonged process. The commissions have not been able to investigate the cases in the lack of adequate staff and funds, with only three months of their tenure remaining.

Published: 18-11-2016 07:59

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