Amid the slow pace of its work and the time constraint it faces to probe into the huge number of complaints, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is mulling to establish liaison offices in all 75 districts across the country.
Officials at the TRC said they are mulling to set up liaison offices in all district headquarters as the offices set up in the seven provinces have not been able to complete investigation into even 7,000 of the over 60,000 complaints received. The TRC had forwarded 1,000 complaints each to its offices established in the seven provinces some three months ago.
According to TRC member Madhavi Bhatt, each Provincial Office is inviting 10 to 15 victims a day for necessary details and investigation into their complaints. "Given the huge volume of complaints, it looks difficult to investigate them within the short span of time. We are mulling to expand our works to each district to expedite the investigation," Bhatta told Republica.
The TRC has established its offices in Biratnagar in Province 1, Janakpur in Province 2, Patan in Province 3, Pokhara in Province 4, Tulsipur in Province 5, Birendranagar in Province 6 and Dipayal in Province 7.
Earlier on February 9, the government had extended the terms of TRC and the Commission for the Investigation on Enforced Disappearance (CIEDP) by a year as their term expired without the completion of their mandated tasks.
The TRC and CIEDP which were initially given a two-year term each have received over 60,000 and about 3,000 complaints, respectively.
Officials said they are still receiving the complaints through post offices.
Given that the TRC has not been able to settle even 7,000 complaints so far, it clearly looks a Herculean task for the transitional justice mechanism to investigate the complaints and provide the long-awaited justice to the victims within the February 9, 2018 deadline.
The TRC has deputed an investigation team led by a government attorney in each provincial office to investigate the complaints. The team consists of a lawyer recommended by Nepal Bar Association and a human rights activist working in the field of transitional justice.
Officials said they could not work expeditiously in the past as it took a long time for them to get necessary legislation, classification and archiving of the complaints and setting up office structures in the provinces. The local elections also affected the pace of their work as government employees with them were deputed for poll duty.
Conflict victims expressed dissatisfaction over the prolonged delay in providing justice to them. "Looking at the current pace of work of the TRC, it looks that we will never get justice," said President of Conflict Victims Common Platform, Suman Adhikari.
Adhikari said that the conflict victims have not been able to openly express their concerns to TRC officials due to security concerns. "The TRC has been conducting investigation based on the criminal justice system and the plight of the victims has largely been ignored," he said.