“TRC and CIEDP failed to carry out their works effectively due to flawed legal mandate, resource and capacity limitations.”
KATHMANDU, Feb 11: While criticizing the government for its failure to grant real powers to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission for Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), various human rights organizations have said the extension of the terms of the transitional justice mechanisms without amending the TRC and CIEDP Act will be meaningless.
Issuing a statement on Friday, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said the extension of the terms without accompanying legal amendments to the Act in line with Nepal's international legal obligations will be meaningless as it will fail to empower the commissions to address the root causes of the conflict and provide justice to the victims.
The ICJ claimed that the TRC and CIEDP failed to carry out their works effectively due to flawed legal mandate, resource and capacity limitations, and lack of political will. "Unless the government of Nepal is prepared to amend the TRC Act in line with the Nepal Supreme Court's rulings and international law, and take other concrete steps to address the persistent challenges that have plagued the commissions' ability to complete their work over the past two years, the extension of their mandate will be meaningless," the statement quoted the ICJ's Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi as saying.
Besides criticizing the government for its failure to take any steps to amend the TRC Act in line with the Supreme Court order, the human rights watchdog has also rapped the government for failing to provide adequate resources to enable the commissions to carry out their work effectively and independently.
Separately, TRIAL International, HimRights, Advocacy Forums and Juri-Nepal in their joint statement said that the extension of the terms should be just a start. "For the mechanisms to fulfill their tasks, extending their mandates must go hand in hand with legal improvements: criminalization and retroactive application of crimes of torture, enforced disappearance and the use and recruitment of child soldiers, as well as the lifting of the statutes of the limitations for rape, murder, and torture," they said.
The rights organizations also said that these changes should be implemented in a meaningful consultation with stakeholders, including victims' communities and civil societies.