Incident Reports

UML, Maoists for narrowing down list of offences of serious nature- Dewan Rai's Op-ed on Transitional Justice


Bagmati, Kathmandu, Kathmandu

Crimes to come down from nine to four: rape, torture, disappearance and cold-blooded murder May 31, 2016- As part of the nine-point deal, coalition partners CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) have proposed three major amendments to the transitional justice law. The ruling parties want to relax the provision to grant amnesty to perpetrators, bring the cases sub judice in court under the purview of the transitional justice bodies and narrow down the list of crimes that grossly violate human rights. The parties have proposed amendments to Section 2 (J) of the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act-2014, which enlists rape, enforced isappearance, torture and cold-blooded murder as crimes in which amnesty cannot be granted. Five of the nine agreements (points 3-7) are related to conflict-era cases and propose a time-bound action plan such as amendments to the existing legal provisions, compensation and reparation for victims and withdrawal of war-era and other political cases and granting amnesty. Point 7 of the deal states that “process to withdraw some of the wartime and other political cases and to grant amnesty will be initiated at the earliest”. The exiting Act has defined abduction and taking of hostage, causing mutilation or disability, forceful eviction from house and land or any other kind of displacement, any inhuman acts inconsistent with the international human rights or humanitarian law and looting, possession, damage or arson of private or public property as acts that amount to gross violation of rights. The CPN (Maoist Centre), formerly a rebel party, has been arguing that acts of looting, damage to property, eviction and taking hostage should eligible for amnesty. Rights lawyers had pointed out the provision could be a stumbling block for reconciliation process as they are not pardonable offences. Similarly, the Section 13 (2) will also see a major change. As per the nine-point agreement, the ruling Maoists and UML have agreed to withdraw war-era cases from the court. Although the agreement contradicts the Supreme Court ruling, the amendment seeks to bring back court cases under the purview of the transitional justice bodies. “The nine-point agreement was political and thus the amendments are being discussed at the political level,” said Tek Prasad Dhungana, secretary at the Law Ministry. According to him, the draft will be forwarded by the Peace Ministry. “We have been discussing various options to the provisions, which are inconsistent with the transitional justice process,” said Dinmani Pokhrel, one of the advocates involved in drafting the provision. Transitional justice has been a key concern of the conflict victims ever since the Maoists came above ground in 2006 to join the peace process.