Call for a singular view on war crime inquiry

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 9, 2018-

Civil society leaders have said that investigation into war-era crimes cannot move forward unless the major stakeholders have adopted a singular view of prosecuting the perpetrators before transitional justice court.

They say the government, major political parties, conflict victims and the security forces must have a common voice on transitional justice process.

Speaking at an interaction jointly organised by the Central Department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies of Tribhuvan University and National Network of the Families of the Disappeared and Missing Nepal (NEFAD) in the Capital on Monday, they said it was meaningless to blame the two transitional justice bodies—Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), because the lack of support from major stakeholders had more to do with the investigation delay.

Security expert Geja Sharma Wagle, who was involved in the integration process of Maoist combatants in the Nepal Army, said the integration process was possible as all stakeholders had common understanding on the issue.

“It took long deliberations for the state and the Maoist side to agree on army integration. A similar understanding among four stakeholders is a must to find way forward in the transitional justice process,” he said.

The TRC and the CIEDP have hardly four months before their terms expire, and they have thousands of cases to investigate.  

Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, human rights activist and conflict victim, said the civil society should come forward to press the government and political parties to take ownership of the transitional justice process.

In the lack of commitment from the successive governments and political parties, amendments to the existing law, as ordered by the Supreme Court, are yet to be endorsed. The transitional justice bodies are also heavily short on staff and resources.

“Transitional justice is a political process which requires common voice of the concerned parties for its success,” said Sushil Pyakurel, former member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

NEFAD Chairman Ram Bhandari said there were different possibilities that the government could adopt  to prosecute the war crimes.

The government could either make amendments to the laws of the TRC and the CIEDP and revamp the two bodes by changing the leadership, or hand over the cases to the NHRC with a high level political mechanism.

It could also focus the transitional justice process on reparation and amnesty, he added.

Published: 09-10-2018 07:24

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