Transitional justice bodies prepare to go as term sees end

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Dec 4, 2018-

Amid confusion over another extension of their term, two transitional justice bodies have decided to wrap up by presenting a progress report and recorded complaints to the government if the administration denies them more time for looking into the insurgency-era cases of atrocities.

Though the term of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) expires on February 9, the government is still undecided whether to extend their term or to restructure them.

As the conflict victims’ organisations are against their continuation in the present form, the government has yet to decide the future course of the transitional justice process.

The transitional justice Act needs to be amended through the federal parliament before February 2019 even if the government wishes to give the commissions more time or to revamp them as demanded by the victims’ organisations.

Making its charter public last month, the Conflict Victims Common Platform called for restructuring the two commissions, claiming that they had failed to make the required progress in probing the cases filed to them. Lila Udasi Khanal, a TRC member, said they were working on the reports to submit to the Prime Minister’s Office before their four-year term expires.

“The report will incorporate the progress we have made and the reasons why we couldn’t produce the expected results,” said Khanal. The TRC, formed on February 9, 2015, together with the CIEDP has received around 63,000 complaints.

It has completed preliminary investigation into hardly 3,000 cases so far. Khanal said the government had not consulted with them so they had no idea if it wants to continue with their term or replace the commission with a new one.

CIEDP officials are also compiling the works they have completed before presenting a report to the government by the first week of February next year.

“The records of the complaints will also be submitted to the government if we don’t get [another] extension,” said IB Gurung, a member of the commission.

The commission on the disappeared had received 3,157 complaints from the victims. Among them, 2,520 cases are classified as “genuine”. Records at the CIEDP show that it has completed preliminary investigation into 1,902 cases from 65 districts.

Officials of both the commissions are against the political parties’ effort to form a new mechanism to conclude the cases from the decade-long Maoist insurgency that ended in 2006.

“It’s up to the government to keep the commissions or to terminate them. However, we are concerned over the discourse portraying that nothing has been done in the last four years,” said Lokendra Mallick, chairman of the commission on  disappearances. “Despite constraints, a lot has been done since the commission was formed.”

Officials from the transitional justice bodies say they are looking for the clear stances of the government and the political parties on their future.

Dhanraj Gyawali, spokesperson for the Ministry of Law and Justice, said a team from the ministry was working to amend the Act but it was yet to decide on the future of the two commissions.

“I believe an ongoing dialogue at the political level will set the tone for the commissions’ future,” said Gyawali.

“The picture will be clear before their terms expire.”

Published: 04-12-2018 07:18

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