‘Govt apathy’ leaves TRC in a quandaryThe Truth and Reconciliation Commission has not been able to proceed with complaints of conflict victims three months until its mandate expires in February.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has not been able to proceed with complaints of conflict victims three months until its mandate expires in February.
The transitional justice body, formed to investigate into conflict-era cases, has received about 58,000 complaints so far, while it expects a few thousands more from remote districts by post.
Commission Chairperson Surya Kiran Gurung said the government has been ignoring their repeated call for resources. “It is impossible to go through all the complaints once with the current staff within the remaining tenure, let alone investigate into all the cases,” said Gurung.
Although the government had approved 100 postings for the commission, it has been working with a total of 59 staff, including office assistants. As per the provision, the government is supposed to provide the required number of staff and budget to the commission. The government never deputed its employees to the commission and even a few of those deputed have already been transferred to other government bodies.
The government sanctioned Rs 120 million, which is only half the amount that the commission had requested. The Finance Ministry has given the cold soldier to its request for additional amount to set up temporary bases in all seven provinces to start investigation. In September, the commission had forwarded a budget proposal of Rs 67.2 million for seven bases through the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction. It has proposed a 17-member staff in each base.
“Finance Ministry has asked for details about its programmes as well as organogram for the budget sought,” said Shankar Kharel, joint secretary at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, “It does not mean rejection.”
Conflict victims, however, point finger both at the commission and the government for the delay. “The commission should take a strong stance so that we can support it with trust,” said Suman Adhikari, president of the Conflict Victims Common Platform.
“We have doubts about the government’s intent since the beginning. All it wants is wash its hands of conflict related crimes.”
The government has not amended the laws even after 23 months of the Supreme Court order to do so. The court has struck down a dozen provisions, including ruling out amnesty to serious crimes. Besides, the government has not criminalised torture and act of disappearance.