Investigation into war crimes gets tougher under new govt

  • ‘Former rebels wielding new-found political influence to hinder probe’
- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 31, 2018-

The merger between CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) to form the Nepal Communist Party has affected the investigation into the war-era cases of human rights violations as the local governments in many places are now reluctant to cooperate in the investigation process, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

The Maoist Centre, one of the principal parties of the decade-long conflict, is accused of committing a litany of atrocities. By joining forces with the UML to form a single communist force, TRC officials say that the former rebels are wielding their new-found political influence at the local level to hinder investigation into war crimes.

The scope of the ruling NCP over-arches almost all three tiers of the government. A majority of the local governments are headed by the new party at the present. And since local governments are the contact points that the transitional justice mechanism rely on to conduct

various aspects of the investigation process, the latter already feels that it is being restricted from carrying out its work.   

According to the TRC, the local government representatives in many places are now reluctant to support the commission which is currently conducting field visits to finalise the reparation policy and to carry out  preliminary investigation into the complaints registered by the conflict victims.

Manchala Jha, who leads the provincial office of the commission in Province 1 and 2, claimed that the party merger had made the investigation process tougher.

“We are getting cold response from the local governments who are our first contact at the local level,” she said.

The TRC, which has received over 63,000 complaints, is conducting the preliminary investigation into the conflict-related crimes from its seven provincial offices while also working on the reparation policy.

It has so far completed preliminary investigation of some 3,000 complaints.

The conflict victims are also concerned that the transitional justice process would slow down following the UML-Maoist merger.

Suman Adhikari, the former chair of Conflict Victims Common Platform, said a local government representative in Salrahi district refused to cooperate with the TRC members who were trying to find the address of a conflict victim.

“The recent move of the government to grant amnesty to murder convict Balkrishna Dhungel has further increased our skepticism,” Adhikari said.

Published: 31-05-2018 07:01

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