Parties finalising names for two transitional justice bodies this weekNepal Communist Party will take leadership of the truth commission while Nepali Congress will get the one on disappearances.
Four months after the two transitional justice commissions became vacant, the parties are close to finalising their new leadership this week. If there is no change in the present dynamics, a cross-party meeting called for Wednesday will decide the seat-sharing and candidates to steer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of the Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons.
In his address to the House of Representatives on Sunday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that he expected that the names for the new leadership would be recommended this week and that the government would endorse them immediately. The same day, after Oli’s address, second-rung leaders from the major political parties held a meeting and discussed the share of commission seats in which each of the parties would appoint their candidates. “We are close to an agreement. Wednesday's meeting could give a way out,” Ramesh Lekhak, who represents the Nepali Congress in the negotiations, told the Post.
Though the recommendation committee was formed in March, it has not been able to recommend the names, as it is waiting for a deal among the parties. Claims of both the ruling and main opposition parties to the leadership of the truth commission were a major bone of contention. Now the sources privy to the developments say that the Nepali Congress has softened its stance and is ready to settle with the leadership of the disappearance commission. Lekhak said that the parties had realised the delay in the appointments and in making the two commissions functional.
The government has called a meeting of all the parties represented in Parliament on Tuesday. The top leadership from the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), including Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba will be among the senior leaders meeting on Wednesday for a deal.
“Our negotiations so far have been very encouraging. We are confident of a deal at Wednesday’s meeting,” Subas Nembang, a communist party leader leading the negotiations, told the Post.
Earlier, the main opposition Congress had forwarded Surya Dhungel, former advisor to former President Ram Baran Yadav, as the candidate to lead the truth commission while Govinda Sharma ‘Bandi’, an advocate who has fought several cases on behalf of conflict victims, was the former UML faction’s pick. The former Maoist faction had been lobbying for Raman Shrestha, a former attorney general.
But Shrestha has rejected while Dhungel too is reluctant to lead the disappearance commission as he wanted the truth commission instead. “I have declined the offer. Transitional justice is neither my area of interest nor my expertise,” Shrestha told the Post.
An opposition leader said it was likely that none of the three will lead the commission. “The names have changed with the changes in the dynamics,” said the leader seeking anonymity because he wasn’t willing to reveal the names amid negotiations. The opposition will get at least two members in the truth commission while it will have one member and the chair of the disappearance commission.
The truth commission has received 63,000 cases while 3,000 cases have been registered with the disappearance commission. The two commissions have been dysfunctional since they became vacant on April 14.
The members of the recommendation committee say they are close to finalising the names. The committee will first publish the list of selected candidates and call the public for complaints against them. “We will recommend the names after conducting hearing based on the complaints,” Ram Nath Mainali, a member of the commission, told the Post. “Both the commissions will get new leadership very soon.”
A total of 57 people have applied for the chairmanship or membership of the two commissions that have 10 members in total.
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