Incident Reports

TRC presses for firm govt commitment



The majority of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) members in a meeting on Wednesday demanded a firm commitment from the government to fulfil legal prerequisites and logistics on time before they seek a term extension. The commission, formed to investigate into conflict-era cases, expires on February 10. As per the law, the commissions’ term can be extended by one year on their request if necessary. At the commission’s first meeting last week, some members had also expressed reservations over tenure extension in the existing situation, saying that it would be useless to initiate investigations without basic tools. The government did not amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act in two years as ordered by the Supreme Court, let alone enact laws criminalising the act of disappearance and torture. The commission has registered over 58,000 complaints of conflict victims through the Local Peace Committees in various districts, as it did not have its own mechanism at the local level. The government approved the budget for temporary bases at a time when the commission has less than a month time for its mandate to expire. “If the government continues to ignore our calls for legal reforms and logistics, we can neither recommend action against the culprits nor initiate reconciliation efforts,” said TRC Chair Surya Kiran Gurung, adding, “It will be useless to start investigation.” In fact, Gurung had warned of stepping down from the post if the government continues to ignore their calls for streamlining legal framework and logistics on time. As the existing law has not envisaged an alternative to form another body, the resignation by the commission’s chair will lead to its dissolution. The government will have to enact another law to set up the commission again. It took the government nine years to enact the law, under which two commissions—TRC and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP)—have been formed to look into incidents related to the Maoist insurgency. Meanwhile, the CIEDP on Wednesday formally requested the government to extend its term by one year. The commission had already prepared a plan of action for three years. In the request, the CIEDP has clearly warned the government that it would not be responsible for non-action against the perpetrators if it fails to provide laws on time. The government has neither criminalised the act of disappearance, not defined disappearance legally.