Committee formed to select transitional justice officials decides to step up effortsGovernment is preparing to start consultations with victims to amend the transitional justice act.
Following pressure from different quarters, the recommendation committee formed to select officials for the transitional justice commissions has decided to step up and take the lead in the appointment process.
According to people familiar with the development, the committee, headed by former chief justice Om Prakash Mishra, will not fully endorse the list of candidates, apparently prepared at the behest of political parties, for the two transitional justice bodies.
The committee is particularly unhappy with the agreement between the parties to repeat the entire team led by Lokendra Mallick in the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons.
A meeting of the committee on Thursday zeroed in on the names the parties have broadly finalised for the two commissions.
Members present in the meeting said the committee was largely concerned about the criticism it might face if they endorsed the name list prepared by the parties without revision.
The Nepal Communist Party and the Nepali Congress have agreed to reappoint Mallick and four members of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, who were relieved of their duties in April-end along with other five officials of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Though former attorney general Raman Shrestha has been saying he is not interested to take up the job, the parties want him to lead the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
They also want to reappoint Sri Krishna Subedi and Madhavi Bhatta in the commission.
“What is the need of the recommendation committee if all the members are to be reappointed?” said Sharmila Karki, a member of the committee. “As transitional justice is also a political process, a political consensus of the parties is necessary, but the committee will have to have its say in the process.”
She said the names will not be recommended ignoring the selection process and criteria.
Thursday’s meeting also discussed the possibilities of Shrestha not accepting the position. Another member of the committee said if Shrestha refuses to lead the truth commission the appointing of another candidate has been discussed.
“We have agreed to learn about the government’s position, informally,” said the member seeking anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss the matter with the media.
The member said that though the chairpersons of both the commissions could be picked based on the consensus of the major parties, the committee will recommend some of the members independently—from among the applicants.
Out of the 57 people who have applied for the 10 positions in the two commissions, around 52 are eligible for member posts.
Karki said the committee didn’t take any decision on Thursday as Prem Bahadur Khadka, one of the members, was absent. The names will be finalised within a few days, she said.
“It has already been five months since the committee was formed, and we cannot wait any longer,” Karki told the Post.
Meanwhile, the government is holding a meeting with conflict victims to seek their cooperation for starting consultations to amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and. Reconciliation Commission Act, 2014.
The government is planning to hold discussions with victims in all seven provinces before finalising an amendment draft.
“We have been asked for a discussion on Monday. We will decide whether or not to participate,” Gopal Shah, vice-chairman of Conflict Victims National Network, told the Post.
The conflict victims have said they would reject the commissions if the appointments are made at the behest of political parties.
Meanwhile, the government has created 56 positions of gazetted staff in truth commission and 23 seats in the disappearance commission.
The leadership of the commissions formed in 2015 had been blaming staff crunch as one of the reasons behind the sluggish process in the investigation of war-era cases of human rights violations.
Around 66,000 cases have been registered with the two commissions.