Kathmandu, Nepal: Following the footsteps of others national and international right agencies, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also slammed the government for failing to implement the transitional justice mechanisms even after the transitional political system has come into the phase of end with the completions of the three phases of elections.
The NHRC has come heavily against of the government and the political parties for failing to investigate even a single case of conflict-era human rights violations over the past three years through the means of the transitional justice mechanisms- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) established by the country on the name of dealing with the war-era crimes.
NHRC Chairman Anup Raj Sharma hinted to the severe consequences recently in the case of failing to implement the transitional justice system in the country. He has a view that international organizations and instruments could be attracted to Nepal’s case if there was delay in the investigation process of war-era cases of human rights violation with prompt and widely agreeable closure to the crimes committed during the Maoist insurgency.
The TRC and CIEDP were formed to probe insurgency-era cases of human rights violation, killings, disappearances, kidnapping, torture, physical attacks, maiming, injury, extra-judicial custody, rape and sexual violence, property capture and displacement, but why have been unable to look even into a single case out of more than 60,000 cases registered by conflict victims during the three years period, Sharma questioned over the performances of the TRC and the CIEDP and the motive of the government and the political parties.
The reason would be that political parties are not cooperating with the transitional justice mechanism; he cautioned stating that everyone should be concerned about not creating a situation in which victims are compelled to seek justice beyond the border.
Conflict victims might be forced to seek justice beyond the borders and the international community might be active, which would put at risk the entire peace process if the country failed to proactively work to address these issues seriously on time, he said.
Not only had the NHRC Chairman Sharma but the TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung had also made similar remarks stating recently that global attention would be attracted if Nepal failed to provide justice to the war era victims.
The remarks have come in the mean time when the government extended the terms of the two transitional justice bodies –TRC and CIEDP by one year.
The remarks made by UNHCR Chairman Sharma and TRC Charman Gurung would be an indication that international community would be active to implement the human right in as international community have been opposing the existing transitional justice process adopted by the country pointing fingers in the lacking of proper laws to adhere to international standards of investigation into war-era crimes.
As Sharma and Gurung have indicated about the situation, the Nepal Army (NA) Colonel Kumar Lama was arrested in January 2013 while he was on leave in the United Kingdom (UK) from his posting as a United Nations peacekeeper in South Sudan.
He was arrested on the charges related to the torture that were allegedly occurred between April and May 2005 at the NA’s Gorusinghe of Kapilvasti district barracks. However, he was freed in September 2016 after the court found no evidence in the allegation charged against Lama.
Though the TRC and CIEDP have registered hundreds of thousands cases related to serious human right violation during the decade long Maoist insurgency. But, these transitional justice mechanisms have not settled even a single case. Others state agencies have kept in distanced to deal on the case in the pretext that all the war-era cases have to be dealt from the transitional justice mechanism.
Considering to the situations, the rights watchdog agencies including the NHRC have been calling for laws criminalizing enforced disappearance and torture as the existing laws related to the TRC and the CIEDP do not clearly define serious crimes against humanity.
The Supreme Court (SC), the apex court of the country had also directed the government in 2015 to enlist unlawful activities like killings, rape, torture and enforced disappearance as serious cases of human rights violation by amending in the existing laws. However, no government has paid serious attention to implementing the court’s order and calls of the right watchdog agencies on the name of transitional politics.