Despite reservations, parties have their way on transitional justice appointmentsConflict victims say they won’t accept the new teams chosen at the behest of political parties.
Over five months after its formation, the recommendation committee formed to select officials for the two transitional justice commissions is announcing the final list by the end of this week. The recommendation committee led by Om Prakash Mishra is preparing to finalise the names—as agreed by the major political parties—on Thursday and publish the list on Friday.
If the current agreement among the parties doesn’t change, the previous team led by Lokendra Mallick will be reappointed ot the Commission of the Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons. Similarly, two members—Sri Krishna Subedi and Madhabi Bhatta—who were in the previous team of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are also going to be reappointed.
Though former attorney general Raman Shrestha has been saying he is not interested in the job, the new team of the truth commission will be announced under him.
Janardan Nepal, a former home secretary, will be another member in the truth commission on the Nepali Congress quota. The fifth member of the commission, who will be picked under the quota of the former CPN-UML, is yet to be finalised.
According to a member of the committee, only three of the 10 members in the two commissions will be from among those who had applied for the positions.
A total of 57 people had applied after the recommendation committee issued a vacancy notice.
“I have learnt that the name of one official from the former UML’s quota will be finalised before the committee’s meeting on Thursday,” the member told the Post seeking anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media on the matter.
Even though victims and international human rights organisations have said the selection process should be fair and impartial, political parties have managed to make their way into the appointment process, thereby picking the people of their choice for the two crucial commissions.
Members of the committee, however, say there is nothing wrong in having a discussion among the parties on the names of the officials to be appointed.
“The commissions cannot work without political support. It is, therefore, necessary to have an understanding with them,” Sharmila Karki, a member of the committee told the Post. “However, the authority to take the final decision lies with the recommendation committee, which will select officials after a proper study.”
After the list is made public, anyone having reservations over the shortlist can register complaints within five days.
Karki said the names will be recommended to the Cabinet for endorsement after studying the complaints.
Conflict victims have threatened not to accept the team picked at the behest of the political parties. They are also against repeating the old faces in the commissions. “The government and parties must answer why the previous chairpersons and the members were relieved of their duties if they had to bring the same old faces back. We are against this drama,” Suman Adhikari, former chairperson of the Conflict Victim’s Common Platform, told the Post. “We have reservations over all the names the recommendation committee is preparing to finalise.”
People familiar with the ongoing selection process said Shrestha is a common candidate of Nepal Communist Party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba for the truth commission.
Shrestha served as the attorney general in both Dahal- and Deuba-led governments though he was close to the former CPN (Maoist Centre).
When asked if he is leading the commission, Shrestha on Tuesday reiterated that he had not given his consent to the parties yet.