Incident Reports

Parties undecided on appointment of officials at transitional justice bodies



Delays in the formation of a recommendation committee by the government will see two transitional justice bodies vacant following last month’s amendment to the Enforced Disappearances Inquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act-2014, that will conclude the terms of existing officials beginning April 14.

But 25 days to deadline, the fate of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established to investigate war-era crimes and human rights violations remain undecided as neither the government nor political parties have reached any conclusion.

Meanwhile, the chairman and a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, one of the two transitional justice bodies, have already resigned from their positions.

A legal expert closely involved in the process said the parties are undecided whether to appoint members and chairpersons first or amend the Act as per the Supreme Court verdict and collect feedbacks from the victims before starting the selecting process.

The expert told the Post, on the condition of anonymity, that 21 issues have been listed for discussion with the victims and other stakeholders and that top leadership from the ruling Nepal Communist Party and the main opposition Nepali Congress have held discussions on different issues of transitional justice at least five times.

“Currently, the leaders from the ruling and opposition parties are giving final shape to the issues for the discussion,” the expert told the Post.

Conflict victims, however, see the delays as a reluctance of both the government and the parties to conclude the transitional justice process, and fear that would further delay the investigation of war crimes and human rights violations.

“The Ministry of Law and Justice consulted us twice a month ago, but has not taken any feedback thereafter. Both the government and the political parties are not serious on concluding the transitional justice process,” Suman Adhikari, former chair of the Conflict Victims Common Platform, told the Post.

People, who have close understanding of the process, say it could take at least a couple of months for the selection process to complete and that the commissions would remain without leadership at least for a month even if a recommendation committee is formed within a few days.

The government is required to form a five-member committee under former chief justice of the Supreme Court, National Human Rights Commission chair or a member recommend by the chair and three more members who are experts in the field of legal, constitutional and human rights.

Officials privy to the latest developments say the government is doing its homework and is serious about forming the recommendation committee at the earliest.

“The commissions might remain without the chairperson and members for some time but that should not last long,” Ramesh Dhakal, secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office and Truth and Reconciliation Commission, told the Post.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has received around 63,000 complaints but it has only completed preliminary investigation into 4,000 cases. Similarly, the Commission on Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons has conducted primary investigation into 2,200 cases out of 3,000 complaints registered with it.