At a time when the ruling party has been criticized by the victims and rights bodies for doing little to speed up resolution of transitional justice (TJ) process and the international community has been repeatedly expressing concerns regarding the perennial delay in ensuring justice to the victims of conflict-era crimes, the government has renewed the process to restart long-stalled TJ process. The government is holding consultations with conflict victims and other stakeholders in all seven provinces from January 13 so as to find ways to settle the remaining task of the peace process that started along with the Comprehensive Peace Accord of 2006. The plan, it seems, is to hold consultations with the conflict victims, stakeholders and officials from the law ministries at federal and provincial levels about drafting laws in accordance with the Supreme Court verdict and international practices, and find ways to resolve cases of human rights violation during the decade-long armed insurgency. The consultation will be focused on addressing the concerns raised by conflict victims and other stakeholders in the process of amending TJ Act in line with the Supreme Court verdict. The consultation will also focus on appointing commissioners in TJ bodies. This is good news and we hope the government will work on this plan without delay.
Needless to say, protracted TJ process has resulted in unpleasant consequences for the country. Nepal is already earning a bad name in international community for failing to provide justice to the victims. The TJ process has stalled due to the delay in appointment of chief commissioners and other officials at Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), which are bereft of commissioners since last April. The government had formed a panel to suggest probable names for officials at TJ bodies but the victim community questioned its process citing that appointment process was not transparent and it was being done without wider consultations with victims and other stakeholders. Thus taking victim community into confidence was necessary to expedite the TJ process. Now the good news is that conflict victims have also extended their support for the consultations and NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba are also learnt to have come to an understanding for resolving the issue. Reportedly, they have agreed not to re-appoint former commissioners and take forward TJ process through understanding among major stakeholders. These are the welcome signs.
We urge the top leaders of major parties and the government to keep this spirit and start the work. Nepal’s failure to provide justice to the conflict victims has earned us bad reputation. Completing this process will not only ensure justice to the victims but will also establish the precedent for the world in completing peace process by putting the victims at the center. As we have maintained in this space before, many things need to be done to accomplish TJ process. Over 65,000 complaints filed at the TJ commissions have remained unresolved since 2015. They need to be resolved and victims need to be assured of justice. Above all, Nepal has to be able to resolve it on its own.