Judicial Council bids for one-tier Special Court

  • Conflict victims can appeal in the Supreme Court
- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu

Jan 30, 2017-The Judicial Council (JC) has suggested a one-tier Special Court comprising three members—two conflict experts and one High Court judge—to deal with conflict-era cases.

The government had proposed a two-tier court—trial court and appeal court—with three judges equally qualified as the High Court judges in each level. As per the proposed provision, the Special Court consists of a judge nominated by the JC, while the government and Nepal Bar Association will appoint one conflict expert each.

The JC has also proposed that cases sub judice in the Special Court will be transferred to the High Court automatically if the former is dissolved, according to the draft bill, a copy of which has been obtained by the Post.

In a two-tier special court, victims could seek review at the appeals court in case they are not satisfied with the trial court’s verdict. The Supreme Court and the JC have ruled out two tiers within the transitional justice court. They believe that appeals should be filed in the Supreme Court.

The draft bill proposes that the transitional justice bodies should hand out punishment in two categories—general and serious. The verdict of the Special Court will be final in general punishment while the victim should be allowed to appeal in the apex court in case of a “serious” penalty.

The proposal, according to leaders involved in its drafting, could be the most agreeable one for all parties. They declined to be named.

In October, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs sought views from the JC regarding the draft amendment to the transitional justice law. The Supreme Court in 2015 had struck down a dozen provisions of the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, which were inconsistent with international laws and transitional justice practices. The mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), formed to look into incidents from the insurgency era, expires on February 10. The TRC has taken a stance that it would not seek one-year extension of its tenure if the government did not amend the laws and enact new legislation.

A majority of TRC members on Sunday insisted that they should first seek time-bound guarantee of legal reforms and logistics to officially initiate investigation into the complaints registered by the conflict victims.

The CIEDP, however, has already requested the government for extension of its tenure by one year. As per the law, the mandate can be extended by a year on request. The TRC has received over 58,000 complaints, while the CIEDP has got close to 3,000 cases.

Published: 30-01-2017 07:49

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