‘Maoist-UML accord violates SC ruling, CPA’The leaders have reached the deal to protect their respective positions in power, which is condemnable to say the least - Charan Prasai, rights activist
Conflict victims and human rights community have taken serious exception to a nine-point deal that the ruling CPN-UML and the UCPN (Maoist) signed on Thursday night, saying that some of the points of the agreement violate Supreme Court (SC) rulings, constitutional provisions, Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) and international laws.
Five of the nine-point deal (point 3-7) are related to conflict-era cases and propose a time-bound action plan, such as amendments to existing legal provisions, compensation and reparation to the victims and withdrawal of war-era and other political cases and granting amnesty. Point 7 of the deal states that “process to withdraw some of the wartime and other political cases and grant amnesty will be initiated at the earliest”.
The deal was signed by the UML and the UCPN (Maoist) on Thursday night in a bid to foil a plan which could have resulted in fall of the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli-led government.
The SC on February 26, 2015, while responding to a writ petition filed by 234 conflict victims, had struck down amnesty provision for perpetrators of serious human rights violations that occurred during the decade-long insurgency.
“Nepal’s constitution has guaranteed constitutional remedies to every individual,” said advocate Govinda Bandi. “But the two parties have inked a deal allowing the government, which they lead, to withdraw cases and grant clemency to war criminals.”
In the CPA that was signed in 2006, the political parties had committed to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international humanitarian laws and basic principles and acceptance relating to human rights. Nepal, during the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in November last year, had promised to comply with international practices and the SC rulings.
“It is unfortunate to see the executive head of the country, who is supposed to implement such legal provisions and commitments, sign a deal with a person who waged the bloody war just to cling on to power,” said Bandi. The self-assigned authority of the government to decide on war-era cases has made transitional justice bodies redundant, said rights defender Charan Prasai.
The deal comes just three weeks after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons started collecting complaints from the conflict victims.
“The deal was reached to protect their respective positions in power, which is condemnable to say the least,” said Prasai. “Political parties, who run the government, have clearly sided with perpetrators, instead of giving justice to the victims.”
The Conflict Victims Common Platform (CVCP), an alliance of 17 organisations representing the victims who suffered at the hands of the state as well as the rebel party, have said that the deal is unacceptable to them.
The CVCP said in a statement that there should be no clemency on serious human rights violation, war crimes, extrajudicial killings and disappearance cases. Citing the recent reports of security surveillance on conflict victims during the case registration in the districts, the CVCP has appealed to the National Human Rights Commission, the United Nations, civil society, media and the international community to oppose the political intervention and government move.
Similarly, the Joint Forum for Human Rights, a national alliance of rights organisations, has demanded annulment of the agreement immediately, saying that it has favoured perpetrators while stripping the victims of their right to seek legal remedy guaranteed by the constitution.
“The agreement has infringed upon conflict victims’ fundamental right to seek constitutional remedy,” read the statement.