KATHMANDU, Sept 9: Despite strong warnings by several quarters including key stakeholders, the conflict victims, against recommending the past commissioners and controversial individuals to the transitional justice (TJ) bodies, the committee formed to recommend commissioners for the bodies is set to make public its nominees this week.
Conflict victims and human rights organizations have threatened to stay away from the TJ process if the ongoing recommendation is not stopped and a consultative and transparent process is started to pick the commissioners.
Also, a member of the five-member recommendation committee has threatened to keep away from the recommendation process if there is political interference in the recommendation process or the universally established human rights standards are compromised.
“If we are not allowed to work in a free and independent manner or established standards are compromised, then I may back away from the decision-making process,” said Prakash Wasti, a member of the committee. Wasti represents the National Human Rights Commission in the committee.
Wasti’s withdrawal may not affect the recommendation process as majority of members support the existing recommendation process.
Anup Raj Sharma, the chief of the NHRC, has already asked Wasti to stay away from the recommendation process if it is not in line with the Supreme Court verdict and demands of the conflict victims.
Committee members said they will publicize a name list of applicants and solicit complaints, if any, from the public against the candidates and later send a shortlist to the government.
“The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for Thursday. The upcoming meeting will begin the real recommendation process,” said committee member Sharmila Karki, “As it’s already late to accomplish the given task, we are wrapping up recommendation process soon.”
Karki said they will recommend candidates after studying complaints from the general public. The committee has already compiled a list of applicants and an internal investigation has already been completed, according to committee members.
Formed in April, the recommendation committee is struggling to recommend chiefs and members of two TJ bodies -- Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons. Insiders say the committee is in a fix as major political parties continue to stick to their stances on whom to appoint commissioners although the committee is formed as part of legal formality.
Conflict victims are concerned as it is reported that some former commissioners who were earlier ‘removed’ from their positions for failing to resolve conflict-era cases and controversial people are set to be nominated to the TJ bodies. Conflict victims claimed that preparations are underway to appoint former attorney general Raman Shrestha, a Maoist sympathizer, as the chief of the TRC.
Appointed in 2015 both chiefs and members of both the TRC and CIEDP were retired in April this year after they failed to produce expected results in resolving conflict-era cases. Initially, two-year term was given to them but they failed to perform despite getting an extension of two years.
Victims are dissatisfied with Shrestha for a couple of reasons; his inclination to former rebel Maoists and his involvement in ‘sabotaging’ the voices raised by conflict victims in the past while he was attorney general under the governments led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Sher Bahadur Deuba.