KATHMANDU, Jan 5: The government has decided to extend the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission for the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) for a year.
A cabinet meeting on Friday endorsed an ordinance to this effect which will be forwarded to President Bidya Bhandari for authentication. “As these commissions are yet to complete their mandated tasks, cabinet meeting today [Friday] decided to present the ordinance before the president for authentication. The terms of both the transitional bodies will be extended by a year,” said Minister for Commerce Meen Bishwakarma.
The government had last extended the terms of these two transitional justice mechanisms for a year on February 9, 2017 after their original two-year terms expired even without commencing their mandated tasks. “Their terms are set to expire on February 9. As the formation of the new parliament will take some time, the cabinet meeting has decided to extend their terms by a year through an ordinance,” said Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Yagya Bahadur Thapa.
As the commissions are yet to complete their mandated tasks...their terms will be extended by a year.
-- Minister for Commerce Meen Bishwakarma.
The TRC and CIEDP have received over 60,000 and about 3,000 complaints, respectively.
The TRC and CIEDP have five members each including their chairpersons. While the TRC is struggling to settle 7,000 complaints by the end of its current term, CIEDP has been unable to complete investigations into even a thousand cases until now.
Earlier, the TRC had established liaison offices in all seven provinces and assigned each office to settle 1,000 complaints it received. Let alone completing investigations into all the complaints received, the body is struggling to conclude investigation into a few thousand cases.
The TRC has deputed an investigation team led by a government attorney in each province. The team comprises a lawyer recommended by Nepal Bar Association and a human rights activist working in the field of transitional justice.
Similarly, the CIEDP has also failed to work expeditiously. The body recently forwarded over 400 complaints it was handling to the TRC for further investigations as it could not ascertain whether the persons allegedly missing at the hands of both the state and then rebel party were 'disappeared' or 'killed'.
Conflict victims have expressed dismay over the repeated extension of the terms of the mechanisms as the victims have been denied justice for a long time already. Victims' rights bodies say they have almost given up hope that they would eventually get justice.