Transitional justice bodies get yet another term extensionTerms of truth and reconciliation, and disappearance commissions extended until January 14 next year.
After failing to revise the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act on time, the government on Tuesday decided to extend the terms of the two transitional justice commissions by six months.
The Cabinet on Tuesday decided to extend the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons until January 14 next year. Their terms were expiring on July 17. Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma, who is the government spokesperson, said the decision for the terms extension was taken using the authority to remove difficulties.
Section 42 of the Act authorises the Nepal government to remove difficulties. Such a decision, however, needs to be presented in Parliament within 30 days.
The two commissions have been lying defunct since July last year after the government decided to extend the terms of the commissions giving rest to their chairs and members.
In October last year, the government had issued an order to remove difficulties in extending the tenure of the two commissions by mid-July hoping that the bill to amend the Act gets through Parliament by that time. However, the bill that was registered in Parliament last year for the first time is still under consideration of the House of Representatives.
On February 26, 2015, the Supreme Court had directed the government to amend the Act’s around half a dozen provisions that allowed amnesty even in cases of serious human rights violation.
Amending the Act is a must to prosecute the incidents of serious crimes and human rights violations that were perpetrated by the Maoist rebels and the state security forces during the decade-long Maoist insurgency.
But despite the court’s order and calls from conflict victims and human rights organisations to amend the Act, subsequent governments since the Maoists joined peaceful politics in 2006 and political parties have paid lip service to the concerns of the conflict victims.
The two transitional justice bodies were formed in 2015 with a mandate to investigate and prosecute conflict-era crimes within two years. Over the years, they have undergone several term extensions, but accomplished very little of their mandate.