Panel moves to recommend TJ officials amid widespread criticism

Published On: November 24, 2019 07:17 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 24: A recommendation committee is preparing a final list of candidates for leading the  Transitional Justice (TJ) bodies. A five-day deadline allotted for the general public to register any complaints against candidates expired on Friday. 

The recommendation committee headed by former chief justice Om Prakash Mishra has called a meeting for Sunday to discuss the complaints before making a final decision about the probable candidates.

“A few complaints have been filed although we have not gone through them minutely,” said Sharmila Karki, a committee member, adding, “We are holding a meeting on Sunday, and a final decision will be taken  then.”

Compiling the applications for candidacy filed by individuals and organizations, the committee has published a list of 61 applicants. In a roster of candidates for chiefs and members released on Monday,  the committee has prioritized the former office-bearers of the TJ bodies  -- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Commission (CIEDP).

Former TRC members  Shree Krishna Subedi and Manchala Jha have been included in the roster made public. Another former TRC member, Madhabi Bhatta Parajuli,  has also been included on the basis of the recommendation of a human rights organization.

The committee has proposed Ganesh Datta Bhatta as chief of the TRC as per an understanding among the major political parties at the last moment.

The recommendation committee has proposed re-appointing the entire board of the CIEDP, including its former chief Lokendra Mallic for its head. Other CIEDP members Ai Bahadur Rai and Nara Kumari Gurung are being included as prospective candidates on behalf of the recommendation committee. The National Human Rights Organization has recommended former CIEDP member  Bijul Kumar Bishwokarma.

Two applicants —Bed Bhattarai and Ashik Ram Karki—have meanwhile withdrawn their applications, citing political intervention in the appointment process.

Conflict victims united under the banner of the Conflict Victims Common Platform have registered a complaint at the secretariat of the recommendation committee requesting it not to re-appoint people who were dropped from the TJ bodies in the past because of ‘incompetence’ in dealing with conflict-era cases. 

Also, the victims have demanded that the previous Enforced Disappeared Inquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act-2014 be revised so that they could be assured of justice and an end to political intervention in the appointment process.  

Following the reservations expressed by conflict victims, Nepal Communist Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal recently vowed to appoint fresh faces.  But it is not clear whether the recommendation committee will backtrack as indicated by Dahal.

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