Calls for amendment to laws before extending tenure of TJ bodies

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Rights activists have warned that extension of the terms of TRC and CIEDP in status quo would be unacceptable to them

Jan 9, 2018-Human rights activists and victims’ associations have said extending the tenure of two transitional justice mechanisms without amending their laws in line with the Supreme Court order will only prolong employment of the office bearers of the commissions without any progress in justice delivery to the victims.

They have warned that extension of the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) in status quo would be unacceptable to them.

Speaking at an interaction in the Capital on Monday, the stakeholders also charged the political parties and the officials of the two commissions with lengthening the justice delivery process.

“We can’t accept tenure extensions of the commissions that don’t deliver,” said Charan Prasai, a human rights activist. He demanded that the working procedures of the two commissions be changed if their terms are to be extended alongside legal amendments on par with international standards.

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

The government on Friday decided to issue an ordinance to amend the TRC and CIEDP Acts, a move that will prolong the tenures of the two transitional justice mechanisms by another year.

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.

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.

“We will resort to protest if their terms are extended in the present scenario. We want an overhaul of both the commissions,” said Suman Adhikari, president of the Conflict Victims Common Platform.

Published: 09-01-2018 07:44

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