TRC, CIEDP seek continuation of local peace panels

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 11, 2017-As the government prepares to dissolve the local peace committees, the transitional justice bodies have asked the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction to extend their term until the probe into war-era cases gets over.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) have written to the ministry for continuation of the bodies.

The peace committees, formed in 2008, are on the verge of dissolution after the government denied them budget. The Peace Ministry had sought Rs21.5 million to run the committees in the 75 districts. The government reasoned that their work would be taken over by the elected local councils.

The peace committees were established to recommend relief and to coordinate programmes targeting conflict victims such as reconciliation and skill-oriented training. After the formation of the transitional justice bodies, they helped collect complaints from the conflict victims.

Each of the peace committees has three officials and is governed by politically nominated members. “The local peace committees are the only mechanism that connect us with the victims from respective districts,” TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung told a programme organised to inaugurate the TRC’s field office for Province-3 in Patan on Monday. He asked for their continuation until the investigation into the cases is over.

Gurung said the peace committees have a good understanding of the conflict victims’ cases, which would be a big help in probing the cases. Ram Prasad Bhattarai, spokesperson for the ministry, said they have asked the Finance Ministry for the budget necessary to run the committees. Without funds, the committees will be closed from the new fiscal year that commences on July 17. Bhattarai said even the Cabinet can decide on their tenure extension.

As many as 58,000 and 3,000 cases have been registered with the TRC and the CIEDP, respectively. Both the commissions have started preliminary investigation into the cases. The TRC has opened offices in the provinces, assigning each of the commission members to oversee the investigation. 

Since both the committees have hardly started the investigation process, they are unlikely to complete the probe by the first week of February next year, when their extended terms expire. Officials say tenures of both the commissions will have to be extended yet again by one year to complete their assignments.

Published: 11-07-2017 08:44

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