TJ bodies preparing interim reports as term ends near

Published On: February 3, 2019 08:12 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 3: A week before expiry of the extended tenures of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP)— officials at the transitional justice (TJ) bodies say they are compiling the progress they have achieved so far in settling conflict-era cases, in preparation for submitting interim reports to the government.

The extended terms of the two crucial TJ bodies are expiring on Saturday without completion of their given tasks. Both the commissions are finalizing their interim reports and compiling the progress achieved in four years. 

The commissions are finalizing their respective reports for submission to the president before their terms expire. 

“We want to submit the reports before the terms expire. The future course of the commissions will be determined only when the government comes up with a new bill,” said Manchala Jha, a member of the TRC, adding, “As of now, we have not received any formal message from the government.”

Since conflicting views have surfaced over the future course of the transitional justice process, the members of the commissions are also in a dilemma about their own future. Surya Kiran Gurung, head of the TRC, has reportedly made up his mind to quit his position shortly after submitting the commission’s report to the government. Gurung has already conveyed a message to this effect to his colleagues, informed sources said.

When attempts were made to confirm his position in the context of the commission term expiring in a week, Gurung’s cell phone was switched off. Officials at the commission say he has switched off his phone since the last two months although he is coming to office regularly.

Out of a total 61,000 complaints registered with the TRC, its offices in all seven provinces have completed preliminary investigations into 3,700 cases. The rest of the complaints have remained pending .

The CIEDP is a bit ahead in settling conflict-era cases as compared to the TRC. Of the total 3,197 complaints registered at the CIEDP, it has completed detailed investigations into 2,149 . Rest of the cases were put on hold after the commission found duplication in the filing of such cases and some other cases were not related to the conflict. A few cases were referred to the TRC .

Among a total of 2,149 cases selected for detailed investigations, the disappeared were found to be still alive in 24 cases. 

“Except for the interrogation of perpetrators we have completed detailed investigations of all the cases. Further, all the work procedures related to transitional justice such as reparations policy and procedures for interrogating perpetrators are in place,” said Lokendra Mallick, the head of the CIEDP.

An amendment bill registered at the National Assembly has proposed extending the terms of the existing commissions by mid-April. 

The bill is silent about whether to continue with the existing commissioners or reconstitute the commissions after mid-April.

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