CIEDP lays groundwork for investigationA Forensic Coordination Committee involving forensic experts and stakeholders has been proposed to facilitate the tasks of exhumation and excavation to be carried out by the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) during its investigation into the incidents of disappearance.
A Forensic Coordination Committee involving forensic experts and stakeholders has been proposed to facilitate the tasks of exhumation and excavation to be carried out by the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) during its investigation into the incidents of disappearance.
The advisory body will also cater potential forensic needs to the commission and forensic application to clarifying the fate of the missing persons as required. The committee consists of representatives from the commission, the Department of Forensic Medicine, Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine, Medico-Legal Society of Nepal, the Department of Archaeology, the National Forensic Science Laboratory, DNA Profiling Unit, Central Nepal Police Forensic Science Laboratory and the National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing (NEFAD).
“A committee of forensic experts is a must to proceed with investigation into the incidents of disappearance as a customary probe in such cases is hardly useful,” said CIEDP Chair Lokendra Mallick. “The committee will work as an advisory body as well as the forensic expert branch of the commission during investigation.”
According to him, the commission will form the committee with a maximum of 11 members in a meeting scheduled for February 22.
The developments come at a time when the commission’s mandate comes to an end on February 10. Although the commission has already sent a request to the government for an extension of the office terms by one year, the government has not responded to the call.
The commission has received over 2,900 complaints from conflict victims. After the first round of screening of the complaints, the commission is set to start filling out ante-mortem forms and formally start a comprehensive investigation into the cases. The commission is expecting a green signal from the government to carry out its probe into the complaints.
“The commission, which registered complaints from the victims in the two years of its mandate, has done a commendable job of entering into partnership with concerned stakeholders to look into the incidents,” said NEFAD President Ram Kumar Bhandari. “Although this will meet the forensic need of the commission, there are prerequisites the government has to fulfil to facilitate the investigation and recommendation of action against the perpetrators by the commission.”
Enactment of the law to criminalise the act of disappearance is the most important requirement for the commission. The government has yet to streamline the laws in line with the Supreme Court verdict.