March 18, 2020 07:34 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 18: The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) on Tuesday made public the names of 2,506 persons who were disappeared during the decade-long Maoist armed insurgency. The names were made public in an attempt to trace the whereabouts of the disappeared before the commission begins final round of investigation into the cases.
“We have disclosed a name list of disappeared people. Some of them who were reported disappeared have since been accounted for while the whereabouts of the remaining are still unknown,” said Niranjan Ghimire, a spokesperson at the CIEDP, on Tuesday evening.
The commission believes the move will help compile additional information concerning the disappeared, he said.
Ghimire said the actual probe into disappeared persons will begin once the commission has gathered details from relatives, neighbors and well-wishers. “Based on this information we will collect further details on our own, interrogate the perpetrators and recommend further action,” he said.
The commission plans to make public the final list of disappeared persons in June after re-verification from multiple sources. The interrogation of the perpetrators, however, will begin only from July, according to the action plan prepared by the commission.
Officials at the commission said the working procedures have already been finalized for the additional probes. These probes, according to officials, will collect additional evidence if any and interrogate those involved in disappearing the victims.
Commissioners say this will finally lead to prosecutions, ensure justice for the victims and provide reparations to the affected families.
The commission has so far completed detailed investigations into 2,000 out of the total of 2,506 cases of disappeared registered with it. The additional investigations will cover the remaining 506 cases.
As part of its detailed investigations, the commission recorded statements from family members of the disappeared and eyewitnesses, and collected ante-mortem data on the disappeared as well as information on the demands put forth by the victims’ families.
Five separate committees headed by the commissioners will now re-visit the cases for which the commission has already completed a detailed investigation process. The committees will try to collect additional evidences, interrogate perpetrators, and recommend action against wrongdoers along with reparations for the victims’ families, according to commission officials.
Detailed investigations into disappearances were stalled after the then commissioners retired in April 2019. The commission is resuming its investigations following the appointment of a new set of commissioners in January.
As part of additional investigations, a DNA testing committee has also been formed.
CIEDP commissioners recently visited the Nepal Army’s Bhairavnath Battalion to find out more about the disappearances.
At least 49 Maoist supporters were tortured and disappeared from army barracks during the Maoist insurgency. The commissioners are currently in Rolpa from where 98 persons were reportedly disappeared.
A May 2006, report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) alleged that Bhairavnath Battalion was implicated in at least 49 cases of enforced disappearance and torture. The UN body had urged the government to initiate a full investigation.