Transitional Justice: Conflict victims want no more delays or excusesConflict victims have demanded the transitional justice bodies to publicise their work plans after the government recently extended their terms by a year.
Conflict victims have demanded the transitional justice bodies to publicise their work plans after the government recently extended their terms by a year.
Excuses like lack of legal provisions and political obstacles to take ahead the transitional justice process will not be entertained from now on, they told the officials of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, at a programme organised to mark the 13th death anniversary of Ganesh Chilawal, the then head of the Maoist Victims’ Association who was killed by the Maoist rebels.
Criticising the commissions’ poor performance during a two-year period, the conflict victims advised the officials of the two commissions to make maximum utilisation of the extended terms.
“We want the commissions to come up with concrete plans to deal with the conflict-era cases within its extended period,” said Suman Adhikari, President of Conflict Victims Common Platform. “The war victims are still not convinced that justice will be delivered because the commissions have very little to show for till date.”
The two-year time given to the TRC and the CIEDP to complete their objectives expired on February 8. In those two years, the two commissions were only able to register complaints (over 60,000) from the conflict victims. The tenures of the commissions, however, came to an end before they could even begin the critical task of investigating the war crimes.
The major reasons cited by the officials of the two commissions for the delay are non-cooperation from the government to amend the Transitional Justice Act in line with the Supreme Court order, and the lack of laws to make the acts of torture and enforced disappearance punishable.
Now, with the one-year term extension, the victims of the decade-long Maoist insurgency want the TRC and the CIEDP to see their tasks through, offer them closure through justice.
Conflict victim Anita Gyawali warned that the internal conflict of the commissioners should not obstruct investigation process. “We want closure to the cases. We don’t want to be labelled as conflict victims forever. We want a clear work plan of the commissions as to how they want to conclude the process within the extended time,” she said.
In reply to the concerns raised by the participants, CIEDP Chair Lokendra Mallick admitted that they could meet the expectation of the victims due to the non-cooperation of the government. “The government extended the mandate but we have not heard any commitment from the government so far,” said Mallick, “We have already completed screening of the cases and soon start detailed investigation.”
Human rights activist Charan Prasai said: “The commissions should stop whining over lack of legal framework because the court order has already given them the mandate to investigate and establish the truth and book the culprit.”
Advocate and conflict victim Gyanendra Aran echoed Prasai’s sentiment.
“In fact, the victims have accepted the existing act. There is no need to amend the act to add complication to the existing act,” he said.
TRC member Madhabi Bhatta emphasised on the confidentiality of the complaints registered with the commission. “I am doing my best to protect the confidentiality of the complaints even if chairperson and some members remained absent since long,” said Bhatta, “I will do my best to safeguard the victims’ interest.”
Kalyan Budhathoki, chairperson of the Maoist Victims’ Association, said that the two commissions were not victim-friendly.