Panel to suggest finalizing TJ law before picking commissioners

Published On: August 3, 2019 06:51 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 3: As part of efforts to make the process of appointing commissioners for the transitional bodies (TJ) acceptable to all, the recommendations committee formed by the government is to consult stakeholders including the government itself and finalize the relevant laws before recommending any names for commissioners. International rights bodies and the conflict victims have called for suspending the ongoing commissioners' recommendations process and for first ensuring that the law is in place to ensure justice for the victims. 

They had been demanding a proper consultative process and greater transparency while appointing the commissioners of the TJ bodies—Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons. 

The conflict victims’ organization and rights bodies including international agencies have asked the government to amend the TJ laws to address victims’ concerns and ensure that the TJ bodies are up to international standard, and government officials have said they are ready to do so. However, the government has so far not taken any initiative to amend the laws to that effect. 

A meeting of the recommendations committee held on Friday decided to informally lobby the government to finalize the law relating to transitional justice and initiate fresh talks with conflict victims.

The committee has, however, refused to halt the recommendations process as demanded by rights bodies. 

“We cannot directly deal with issues related to law. But we will definitely consult the government agencies through available channels as we are also concerned about the issues raised by international rights bodies and the media coverage,” said committee member Sharmila Karki. 
At the meeting, committee members discussed how to take up the concerns of rights bodies and conflict victims. 

The meeting also decided to hold separate discussions with representatives of the conflict victims’ organization and former chiefs of the TRC and CIEDP. 

Formed back in March, the committee headed by former chief justice Om Prakash Mishra has not been able to recommend names for the posts of chiefs and members of the TJ bodies. These posts have been lying vacant since mid-April. 

The previous incumbents were appointed in 2015 and but their terms expired earlier this year without further extension. 

Rights bodies and conflict victims have mounted pressure on the government recently to revise the law to ensure that those involved in serious human rights violations don’t get impunity. 

The conflict victims have warned that they will not accept the TJ process if the necessary law is not promulgated before appointing the commissioners. They have insisted such law should ensure that the victims themselves are properly consulted and represented on the TJ bodies. The government hasn’t taken any initiative in this direction.

Observers said it is mostly dispute between the ruling Nepal Communist Party and the main opposition Nepali Congress over appointing their own trusted individuals to the commissions that has rendered the recommendations committee ineffective.

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