Ordinance for extending TJ commissions’ tenure

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 6, 2018-The government has decided to issue an ordinance to amend the Acts on Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), prolonging the tenures of the two transitional justice mechanisms by another year.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday decided to issue the ordinance, which will be forwarded to the President’s Office for approval. The commissions will get a new lease of life after President Bidya Devi Bhandari approves the ordinance.

The two commissions were formed in February 2015 with a two-year mandate to look into war-era crimes. However, with both the bodies failing to do any significant work, the government last year extended their terms by a year until February 9.

The new tenure was also largely wasted as no single complaint has been fully probed so far. The TRC has hardly completed preliminary investigation into some 500 cases while the CIEDP is still busy segregating the cases.

“The Cabinet decided to issue the ordinance for giving the commissions time to complete their investigations,” Defence Minister Bhimsen Das Pradhan told the Post.

Both the commissions have said that a lack of funds and resources and the government’s failure to formulate legislations in line with international standards and the Supreme Court’s order were to blame for their sluggish pace of works. The TRC has received some 60,000 complaints while around 3,200 cases have been registered with the CIEDP.

Members of the transitional justice bodies have said mere extension of the term is not enough to expedite the investigation. “Extending term without removing legal and administrative hurdles is not a solution,” said Manchala Jha, a member of the TRC, adding that the commission should have enough resources and legal amendments in line with the SC verdict. She argues that the international community including the United Nations will not recognise the probe without legal changes.

The apex court’s January 2015 order striking down around a dozen provisions has been ignored so far, much to the chagrin of conflict victims and rights defenders. The court had ordered criminalisation of torture and disappearances and removal of the statute of limitation for registering conflict-era cases. The court had also ruled out amnesty for perpetrators of grave human rights violations.

“Tenure extension without amendments in line with the SC verdict is just another attempt to delay justice for victims. This is unacceptable,” said Suman Adhikari, president of the Conflict Victims Common Platform.

Published: 06-01-2018 07:50

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