KATHMANDU, Jan 11: Conflict victims have urged the government to suspend the process initiated to appoint commissioners for key Transitional Justice (TJ) bodies at least until the new law is promulgated.
In a strong-worded statement issued ahead of the government's preparations to appoint commissioners at two TJ bodies, primary victim groups--Conflict Victims' Common Platform (CVCP) and National Network of Disabled Conflict Victims - on Friday threatened to stay away from the TJ process.
Both the groups warned of boycotting the TJ process if their demands were ignored. Also, conflict victims have announced to reject their participation in national consultations scheduled for Monday.
In an attempt to expedite the long-stalled TJ process, the government has been preparing to organize one-day consultations in all seven provinces inviting the victims and stakeholders and appoint the new commissioners afterward. The conflict victims believe the consultations will not give any solution and are being organized just to show the international community that all stakeholders including the victims were taken on board in formulating the law.
“Since the consultation scheduled for January 13 is just for the sake of consultation and not meaningful as demanded by the victims, it's not acceptable to us,” reads the statement issued by CVCP.
The conflict victims are miffed with the government after the authorities neither shared questions or content of the consultation nor its modality to the victims even just days before the event. Victims are for forming a high-level political mechanism to decide the content of law, a time-bound action plan and procedure to conclude the TJ process.
TJ bodies are left without commissioners since last April.
After spending 10 months without doing anything substantive to complete the given assignment, a committee formed to suggest commissioners for the two commissions - Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons - has reportedly finalized the probable candidates. The recommendation process is now said to be delayed until the consultations are organized.
The victims say they are not hopeful of getting justice from the to-be appointed commissioners as well. The politician-controlled recommendation committee is working at the behest of the political parties and perpetrators, they accused.
In its press statement, the victims' group has questioned transparency in appointing the commissioners as well as the law formulation process.
“Irresponsible and non-transparent acts of the government have denied the victims their right to truth, justice and compensation and there is only the risk of achieving political interests,” reads the CVCP statement.
The government wants to conclude both law formulation and commissioner appointment processes simultaneously. But the victims say the commissioner appointment process should be withheld unless the new TJ law is formulated.
They argued commissioners appointed as per the preamble of the same old law won't be able to deliver justice.
“The commissions to be formed under the same old law and process will be just another failure to conclude the transitional justice process. It will be another pain for the victims,” reads the statement.