KATHMANDU, May 3: Fifty-seven applications have been filed seeking appointment as members or chiefs of the two Transitional Justice (TJ) bodies.
Among the applicants, three are said to be former members of the TJ bodies—Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons. They are seeking a second stint .
A knowledgeable source confirmed that former TRC member Madhavi Bhatta and CIEDP members Bishnu Pathak and Bijul Kumar Bishwokarma have applied, seeking reappointment.
Bhatta has filed application for the position of TRC member while Pathak wants reappointment as a member of the CIEDP . Bishwokarma has expressed interest in working as either member or chair of either of the commissions.
The government had formed a committee headed by former chief justice Om Prakash Mishra to recommend members and chiefs for the two commissions. Even as the terms of the commissions expired on Wednesday, the recommendation committee has just started to study the applications including the work experience of the applicants. They said they will complete the study in a couple of days.
Madhu Ghimire, former National Human Rights Commission secretary, university lecturer Durga Bahadur Ghale, lawyer Ashish Ram Karki and Sita Prasad Pokharel have applied for the chair of either one of the commissions, according to recommendation committee members.
“Once our study is over, a roster of qualified candidates will be made public. And the general public will be called on to file complaints if any against the applicants within five days ,” said Sharmila Karki, a member of the recommendation committee.
Officials of the committee said they have a mandate to recommend candidates from outside the roster . “We can do that if the applicants are not suitable for heading the organizations,” said Prem Bahadur Khadka, another member of the recommendation committee.
In 2015, the recommendations committee had recommended Surya Kiran Gurung and Lokendra Mallic as heads of the TRC and CIEDP respectively although these two hadn't applied for the positions. This time, the recommendation committee has reportedly made up its mind to recommend senior lawyer Gobinda Bandi as head of the TRC, according to informed sources.
Former prime minister Lokenda Bahadur Chand and former minister Madhav Poudel are also considered as probable candidates.
“Bandi put forth some conditions such as enough resources and powers to recruit staff on contract basis on his own if government employees are not enough or capable enough to deliver,” said an informed source. “The recommendation committee is discussing whether to recommend Poudel and Chand as well.”
Considering his past role in raising the cause of conflict victims at national and international forums, a section of conflict victims have pushed his name for a head of the TJ bodies.
Over 65,000 complaints related to the Maoist armed insurgency have been registered at the commissions. The outgoing commissioners retired in April without completing their given tasks during their four-year terms.