Process begins to amend transitional justice ActNearly three years after the Supreme Court order to amend the Acts on Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, and Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the government has finally started the amendment process to include a provision for booking perpetrators of serious crimes.
Nearly three years after the Supreme Court order to amend the Acts on Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, and Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the government has finally started the amendment process to include a provision for booking perpetrators of serious crimes.
In January 2015, the Supreme Court directed the government to amend a dozen provisions of the Act that are inconsistent with “international laws and transitional justice norms”. It had sought specific difference between ‘serious crime’ and ‘crime of serious nature’ while seeking removal of the statute of limitation on reporting incidents of sexual assault, and that for registration of cases against perpetrators found guilty by the commissions.
However, successive governments had failed to draft the bill in line with the apex court ruling. Victims’ associations and international humanitarian organisations have been pressing the government to amend the laws.
After taking charge as the attorney general, Agni Kharel has been consulting with stakeholders including the Conflict Victims Common Platform, an alliance of 13 organisations working for victims of the decade-long Maoist insurgency, officials from the two transitional justice bodies and representatives from political parties to collect feedback.
“We are working on the amendment draft following the spirit of the apex court verdict,” Law Minister Sher Bahadur Tamang told the media on Monday. In consultation with the ministry, Kharel is taking a lead in preparing the draft amendments.
The CIEDP and the TRC present the absence of appropriate laws as the major reason behind the delay in investigation. Three years since the two transitional justice bodies were formed, they have been unable to fully investigate a single case of war-era crime. Formed on February 9, 2015, the TRC has hardly completed preliminary investigation into 1,300 of the 60,298 cases filed to it while the CIEDP, which received 3,093 complaints, has short-listed some 2,300 “genuine cases” for probe.
The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction had drafted an amendment paper in 2015-end based on the court order but it did not go further in the lack of consensus among the political parties. The draft, which was sent to the Law Ministry for approval, was returned to the Peace Ministry two years later without feedback.
The amended Act is expected to define grave crimes such as unlawful killing, rape, enforced disappearance and torture, in which the perpetrators cannot get amnesty. Criminalisation of torture is another issue the amendment should define.