KATHMANDU, Jan 27: Unconvinced by the government’s approach to the transitional justice (TJ) process, Nepal’s conflict victims have threatened to invite the international community including the United Nations to intervene in the ‘botched’ justice process. They believe recent government efforts taken toward resolving the conflict-era cases have dampened the hopes of the conflict victims.
Conflict victims have been desperately waiting for justice since the former rebel Maoists joined the mainstream politics by signing a peace deal with the parliamentary parties in 2006. Over 65,000 complaints filed at the transitional justice commissions remain unaddressed since 2015.
Their hope for justice, according to conflict victims, has faded after the government appointed its faithfuls as commissioners to the transitional justice commissions and Sunday’s appointment of former Maoist leader Agni Prasad Sapkota, who has been accused of murder, to the key position of parliament speaker.
Arguing that former commissioners couldn’t deliver justice to the victims despite spending four years in offices after the victims didn’t support the “pro-perpetrators TJ law” they say the newly-appointed commissioners will also disappoint the victims. They say the recently-appointed commissioners will perform even worse.
“By ignoring our plea to revise the TJ law before appointing commissioners in the two commissions, the government has repeated the same old mistake,” said Bhagiram Chaudhary, the president of the Conflict Victims’ Common Platform, an umbrella organization of conflict victims, adding, “So, we will continue our protest against the botched TJ process. We will ask the United Nations and other countries that are committed to human rights to intervene in the TJ process if the government continues to undermine our voices.”
Conflict victims expect foreign countries that support the victims’ struggle will come up with statements repeating their stances in the near future. “Since war-era crimes fall under universal jurisdiction of human rights, the countries will themselves step in Nepal’s case if the government moves ahead in an irresponsible manner,” said Chaudhary.
On Saturday, four prominent human rights organizations--International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and TRIAL International--expressed serious concerns over Nepal government’s recent moves. The government on Sunday ignored their request not to elect someone accused of murder as speaker of parliament.
According to Chaudhary, they will ask the UN to intervene if the new commissioners of the TJ bodies moved ahead by suppressing the voices of the conflict victims.
“Conflict victims are continually being harassed by the government, but we will not give up our struggle. Our last resort will be to ask the international community including the UN to intervene in the TJ process,” said Chaudhary.