House panel tells govt to give teeth to commissions

  • transitional justice
- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu

Feb 11, 2017-

The Parliament Committee on Social Justice and Human Rights has directed the government to amend the law related to transitional justice and enact new laws required for the two commissions to start investigation into war-era crimes. 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), whose terms were extended by a year on Thursday, have received around 60,000 complaints, but investigation is due, for a lack of laws, funds and human resources. 

A meeting of the House committee meeting on Friday unanimously decided to expedite the transitional justice process that has been dragging on for over a decade. 

“Extension of terms of the commissions is a welcome step, but the government must immediately amend and enact laws and provide the commissions with logistics to start formal investigation into conflict-related cases,” said Committee Chair Sushil Kumar Shrestha. 

The commissions were formed in 2015, nine years after a peace deal that ended the decade-long insurgency, with a two-year mandate under legislation that allows perpetrators amnesties. 

The 1996-2006 armed struggle claimed more than 17,000 lives. Nearly 1,500 persons were disappeared and thousands were displaced.

Supreme Court orders to bring the legislation in line with Nepal’s obligations under international law have so far been ignored. 

The government has neither equipped the commission with staff nor released budget to hire experts to launch investigation into the complaints. “By refusing to empower the commissions, the government has been obstructing the transitional justice process,” said Shrestha. Some committee members demanded work plan from the commissions, expressing dissatisfaction at their performance. 

“They should lay down work plan, explaining how they are going to complete their tasks in one year, which looks unlikely given their past performance,” said Kamala Roka, a committee member. 

Since the incidents to be investigated occurred in the past, the government is supposed to remove the statute of limitation on registration of cases. 

The committee has also decided to summon the prime minister, law minister, peace minister and chairpersons of the commissions to discuss the issues in its next meeting.

Published: 11-02-2017 08:27

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