Conflict victims demand government to dissolve the recommendation and start afresh selection processThey claim the government is inviting international intervention by politicising the transitional justice process
The victims of the decade-long insurgency on Thursday demanded an immediate dissolution of the committee formed to recommend office-bearers in the two transitional bodies.
Such demand comes amid an open interference from the government and major political parties in the selection of the chairpersons and members in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons.
The conflict victims say they have no trust in the present selection process of office-bearers for the two commissions and will not accept the candidates picked by the current recommendation committee.
Organising a press meet in the Capital on Thursday, they asked the government to amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 first before starting a new selection process based on the revised Act.
The latest demand from the conflict victims comes days after four prominent international human rights organisations urged the Nepal government to maintain transparency in the appointment process.
A joint statement issued by International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and TRIAL International on Tuesday, said that reformation in the law was necessary before the appointment and called for amendment to the Act without further delay.
In February 2015, the Supreme Court had directed the Nepal government to revise the Act to make it consistent with the international human rights standards. The court had struck down almost a dozen provisions in the Act and directed the government to ensure that no amnesty is awarded in cases of serious human rights violations committed during the decade-long insurgency. However, four years after the ruling, the government is yet to start the amendment process.
“It is evident that no competent people will get appointed in the transitional justice commissions unless the government and the political parties stop their interference,” said Suman Adhikari, founding chairperson of the Conflict Victims Common Platform. “The current selection process should be immediately stalled.”
Adhikari also alleged that the government was treating the commissions as its subordinate units and trying to deploy the confidants of major political parties.
Three days after an agreement among the parties on the names to lead the two transitional justice commissions, the recommendation committee on November 18 published a list of 61 probable candidates, including those who were relieved of their duties in April.
The leaders of the Nepal Communist Party and the Nepali Congress on November 15 had agreed to pick Ganesh Datta Bhatta, an associate professor at Nepal Law Campus, for the post of chairman in the truth commission and repeat the same old faces, including the chair, in the disappearance commission.
“The two commissions have also received complaints against top leaders including Nepal Communist Party Co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba. How could the commissions investigate these complaints when the persons in charge of investigating were appointed by these same leaders?” questioned Adhikari
The conflict victims said the government and political parties were inviting an international intervention by taking the transitional justice process towards failure.
“No one can stop the conflict era cases from getting internationalised if the government and the parties don’t correct themselves,” said Bhagi Ram Chaudhari, chairperson of the platform.
He reminded the parties that around 9,000 cases related to severe human rights violations had been filed at the United Nations which could be tried in the international courts if Nepal fails to conclude the transitional justice process.
Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, states may make it possible for their domestic criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute crimes such as torture, committed by any person, anywhere in the world. The four human rights organisations also had said that whitewashing egregious crimes will not help the perpetrators dodge universal jurisdiction.