Rights activists meet conflict victims to devise strategy

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 23, 2018-

Following delays by the government and the transitional justice bodies in providing justice to conflict victims, a group of human rights activists has started consultation with the political parties and conflict victims to form a common strategy for concluding the investigations.

The group has held rounds of consultation with top leaders of major parties to find a common ground on providing justice for the victims, which is a crucial component of the peace process that began in 2006. It also met with the representatives of conflict victims on Monday to seek their suggestions. Members of the group say there has been a broad understanding that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons cannot complete their tasks without the parities’ commitment.

They are for bringing together Prime Minister and Nepal Communist Party Co-chair KP Sharma Oli, NCP Co-Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba to commit publicly to concluding the process.

The group is also for having a mechanism to supervise the TJ bodies in expediting the investigation process. “Everyone is convinced that we can reach nowhere in the present fashion,” said Tika Dhakal, a member of the group. “We are for an alternative strategy to facilitate the process.”

Conflict victims also agree that the political parties should be pressed to come together for concluding the transitional justice process soon in a new approach.

Bhagi Ram Chaudhary, chairman of the Conflict Victims Common Platform, an umbrella body of victims’ organisations, told the Post that there was a unanimous call for an alternative strategy. “Victims have lost faith in the TJ bodies and even in the political parties. Something visible needs to be done to generate hope for justice,” he said.

Together with public commitment from the top political leadership and formation of a new mechanism, Chaudhary says, the existing law on transitional justice should be amended as soon as possible. Months since the government came up with an amendment draft, no concrete effort has been made towards revising it by incorporating feedback from the victims.

Conflict victims and human rights defenders have raised serious objections to some of provisions of the draft, mainly the reduced penalties.

They are against providing concessions to the perpetrators in jail terms. The draft proposes that if any person cooperates during investigation and reveals facts, s/he would be considered for a reduction in punishment. In such cases, they would be fined up to Rs500,000, barred from appointment to any position of profit for three years, and required to serve the community for three years.

Other perpetrators would get reduced prison terms; 75 percent if they accept the crime, regret and beg pardon for what they have done. They would have to provide reparation for the victims as determined by the Special Court and express commitment to not repeating the crime in future.

Such perpetrators would be kept in Open Prison that the government is preparing to establish.

Published: 23-09-2018 07:36

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