KATHMANDU, Nov 18: A committee formed to recommend chiefs and members in the two transitional justice (TJ) bodies has named Ganesh Datta Bhatta for head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Lokendra Mallick for head of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP).
Bhatta is an associate professor at Nepal Law Campus. Mallick is former chief of the CIEDP.
Bhatta is likely to lead the TRC. Ruling Nepal Communist Party and main opposition Nepali Congress have reportedly made an informal agreement to appoint Bhatta as TRC chief.
The committee proposed Bhatta after receiving green signal from the parties, sources said.
Committee members, however, said the names are just recommendations and final decision will be made only after receiving public feedback/complaints.
“It’s not the final list. We will recommend a shortlist after getting public feedback on the candidates,” said Sharmila Karki, a member of the recommendation committee, adding, “Five days will be given to the general public to file complaints, if any, against them.”
Several others had applied at the recommendation committee, which is headed by former chief justice Om Prakash Mishra, for appointment as heads of the two bodies.
A list of 61 applicants who have applied for various positions in the TJ bodies are being published in Monday’s Gorkhapatra, the state-owned Nepali daily.
A knowledgeable source said six candidates have applied for the chief of TRC, the TJ body where most serious cases of human rights violation are filed against top politicians, chiefs of security agencies and former Maoist rebels.
Former TRC members — Manchala Jha, Madhavi Bhatta and Shri Krishna Subedi — had applied for the TRC head or member positions. Former lawmaker Duman Thapa and Kamal Narayan Das have also applied for TRC chief position, according to the sources.
The Mishra-led committee was formed in April. But it remained inactive for months after parties continued to disagree over whom to appoint as TRC head.
Conflict victims have long accused the committee of working as per the interest of the political parties. “Committee members waited for eight months just to serve the interests of their respective parties,” said Suman Adhikari, “Now, they have agreed to publicize applicants’ list after getting a green signal.”
Conflict Victim’s Common Platform, an umbrella organization of conflict victims, on Sunday issued a statement questioning the commission’s credibility and transparency terming the commission as the ‘puppet of political parties’.
It has also urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to stay away from the appointment process. The NHRC has its representatives in the recommendation committee.