House panel tells govt to amend TRC and CIEDP Act

Published On: February 11, 2017 12:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 11: Parliamentary Committee on Social Justice and Human Rights has directed the government to make no delay in amending the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission for Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) Act, 2014 in line with the Supreme Court decisions.

A meeting of the parliamentary committee held a day after the government decided to extend the terms of the transitional justice mechanisms directed the government to bring amendment bill at the earliest to align the TRC and CIEDP Act, 2014 with Nepal's international human rights obligations and commitments. The directive is seen as meaningful one as it comes amid complaints from victim parties that the provisions in the existing Act seek to grant amnesties even to those involved in serious crimes.

The Supreme Court in its two separate rulings has said that the provisions in the TRC and CIEDP Act were in violation of Nepal's international legal obligations, as they seek to grant amnesties even to those  involved in gross human rights abuses and serious violations of international humanitarian law amounting to crimes under international law.
The parliamentary committee had held an informal meeting with the office bearers of the TRC and CIEDP on Thursday to learn about the challenges and achievements made so far with regard to ensuring transitional justice to the conflict victims. The Committee made the decision to direct the government to amend the Act at the earliest as both the transitional justice mechanisms now have just a year to settle the complaints received from victims parties.

According to the committee's secretary Rojnath Pandey, TRC and CIEDP office bearers had briefed the Committee members during an informal meeting on Thursday that the inordinate delay in amending the TRC and CIEDP Act, 2014 had made them unable to expedite the works. While the TRC has received about 58,000 complaints, the number of complaints filed with the CIEDP by the victim parties stands about 2,800. 

It is estimated that the number of complaints filed by the conflict victims stand well over 70,000 if all the complaints filed at the National Human Rights Commission, various District Administration Offices and District Police Offices were put together. 

Besides directing the government to bring amendment in the Act to ensure smooth functioning of the bodies, the parliamentary committee has also directed the government to provide required human resources and extend requisite financial resources to expedite its works. 

According to the Committee Chairman Sushil Kumar Shrestha, members in the Committee had raised issues of the government's failure to bring amendment in the Act and provide necessary resources to ensure smooth functioning of the TRC and CIEDP. 

"We will invite the prime minister and other concerned ministers and officials in our next meeting and follow up on the status of implementation of the directive. It is the responsibility of the government to create conducive environment for their functioning" said Shrestha. 

Friday's meeting of the Committee has decided to invite Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal; Minister for Peace and Reconstruction; Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; and the chiefs of National Human Rights Commission, TRC and CIEDP in their next meeting in order to find ways to resolve the problems seen in the functioning of the transitional justice mechanisms, according to the minute of the committee's decisions.

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