Government in a bind as conflict victims divided on transitional justice futureAs less than two weeks remains for the terms of the two transitional justice bodies to expire, any breakthrough on the larger course of the process is unlikely anytime soon even if both the victims’ associations are ready for dialogue.
Differences between two conflict victims’ associations over the future of the transitional justice process have put the government in a bind.
The Ministry of Law and Justice on Sunday said it was preparing to write to the Conflict Victims Common Platform and the Conflict Victims National Network to invite them for dialogue on amending the existing transitional justice law and forming a mechanism to oversee the process of delivering justice to thousands of people who suffered trauma and injustice during the decade-long Maoist insurgency. But there was no progress even on Monday, as one of the associations did not show interest in participating in a dialogue that is aimed at forming a new mechanism.
While the Conflict Victims Common Platform wants a high-level mechanism at any cost, the newly formed Conflict Victims National Network opposes it.
The network has decided not to be part of the mechanism and boycott the dialogue aimed at setting up any such structure.
The conflicting demands of the two associations compelled the ministry to stall the formal invitation. Ministry officials, along with some experts, are working to find a middle path that is acceptable to both the sides.
Read: Transitional justice bodies to wrap up if government denies extension
Ramesh Dhakal, secretary at Prime Minister’s Office and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who is leading the consultation process from the government, said they were looking for an amicable solution to the present problem and this was taking the time. “We are expecting some positive results by tomorrow [Tuesday],” he told the Post.
As less than two weeks remains for the terms of the two transitional justice bodies to expire, any breakthrough on the larger course of the process is unlikely anytime soon even if both the victims’ associations are ready for dialogue.
Owing to the time crunch, the government must table an amendment bill in Parliament within a week to avoid the vacuum by extending terms of the TRC and the Commission of Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons. February 9 is the last day of the fourth year of both the commissions that were formed in 2015.
The law governing transitional justice must be amended for the continuation of the commissions. The amendment has to be endorsed by both the Houses and authenticated by the President before it gets legal status. The entire process takes at least a week. Therefore, the government has to register the amendment bill in Parliament latest by Sunday.
A source privy to the developments said as the government has a short window; it can only extend the terms of the commissions for now. Negotiation on further revising the Act as per Supreme Court’s verdict and international obligation will be done once the commissions get tenure extension most probably by 3 to 6 months.
Last week, the international community working in Nepal, including the United Nations, asked the government to clarify its plans to take the transitional justice process forward and to ensure broader consultation with the stakeholders.