Kathmandu, Nepal, February 11 2020: International community seems annoy with the government decision to appoint Agni Prasad Sapkota as speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR). The international community have repeatedly been concerning over Nepal’s failure to settle the conflict-era cases to ensure justice to the victims.
As visiting Canadian Senate Speaker George J Furey led parliamentary team is wrapping up his two-day visit to Nepal today (Tuesday) without meeting the Speaker Sapkota, speculations are riffed that international community would continue their stand against of his appointment though he has already assumed the post. Former Maoist leader Sapkota is accused of murder during the decade-long insurgency.
Furey led Canadian Parliamentary team had arrived in Kathmandu on Monday. The team held a bilateral meeting with National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Prasasd Timilsina and also met with the members of Nepal-Canada Friendly Parliament Group on Monday but not scheduled to meet Speaker Sapkota without elaborating the reasons.
According to an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) the team is scheduled to meet Prime Minister KP Oli, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali and Minister for Education Giriraj Mani Pokharel today. Likewise, team is also scheduled to visit the Patan Museum before heading home in the afternoon.
Not meeting Speaker Sapkota is being claimed that the visit was fixed before the election of the speaker. However, concerned officials do not agree with the claim stating that visiting Canadian Senate Speaker Furey would reschedule meeting with his Nepali counterpart Sapkota if he was willing to do so.
Notwithstanding the widespread concerns, Sapkota was appointed as speaker last month. Not only the conflict victims, human rights activists and civil society members in Nepal but also the international human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had urged the government and its head Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to reconsider its decision to appoint Sapkota to the coveted post.
Sapkota has been accused of ordering to murder Arjun Bahadur Lama of Kavrepalanchowk district during the decade-long Maoist insurgency. The case filed against Sapkota at the Supreme Court (SC), the Apex Court of the country, under criminal charges is still sub judice.
Though the decade long insurgency had ended in 2006 after the singing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the wrangling side Maoist and the seven party alliances, most of the crucial issues related to the insurgency including the transitional justice are yet to be reached on the conclusion, thanks to the apathy of the government and the parties.
As the transitional justice process of the country has been hanging in the balance, the international community has been expressing serious concerns over the apathy shown by the government and parties including the recent one government’s decision to appoint Sapkota as speaker.
The Government of Nepal has been facing widespread criticism after it decided to appoint the accused of grave human rights violation instead of taking initiatives to ensure justice to the conflict victims.
Over 65,000 cases related to the conflict era are pending at the transitional justice bodies- the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP).
The government has appointed new office bearers of the two commissions on the basis of the share among the ruling head NCP and the main opposition Nepali Congress. The conflict victims have already casted their doubts that the commissions would not give justice to them.