November 20, 2019 07:54 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Nov 20: The government is preparing to hold consultations on the draft of the Transitional Justice (TJ) bill in all seven provinces in a bid to seek wider support for the controversial bill.
The bill has remained a major bone of contention between conflict victims and the government for years. Due to differences over the law over 65,000 complaints filed by conflict victims at the TJ bodies remain pending for years.
Conflict victims are waiting for justice since a peace deal was signed between the then government and the Maoists in 2006.
Preparations to hold consultations on the disputed law come shortly after a committee formed to recommend chiefs and members of TJ bodies published a list of applicants on Monday. Apart from the list of applicants, the recommendation committee has also proposed chiefs and members for TJ bodies – Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP).
If everything goes as planned, the committee is expected to publish a final list of prospective candidates to the government in a week. Keeping preparations made by the recommendation committee in mind, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs is preparing to hold consultations with conflict victims and other stakeholders at the earliest.
The ministry had proposed the victims to start province-wise consultations from Thursday.
The consultation plan, however, has been deferred for few days after the conflict victims expressed dissatisfaction over the consultation modality proposed by the ministry.
“Officials from the law ministry have invited us to the ministry for tomorrow [Wednesday] and asked us to start consultations from Thursday,” said Bhagiram Chaudhari, president of Conflict Victims’ Common Platform, adding, “We have asked them to wait for a few days as we are currently busy in internal meetings. But we will certainly hold discussion although we have our own consultation modality.”
As per their consultation modality, conflict victims have suggested to the ministry to hold separate thematic consultations for different victims — rape victims, disappeared, security personnel, former combatants among others — in all 75 districts. All districts except for Manang and Mustang have conflict victims.
The conflict victims’ representatives are demanding that consultations be held in all districts in the first round followed by province-level consultations in the presence of all stakeholders before drafting the TJ law.
Conflict victims and human rights organizations had been mounting pressure on the government to revise the law in accordance with directives of Supreme Court and United Nations saying TJ law promulgated by the Nepal government is not in accordance with the international standards.
In February 2015, the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling had ordered the government to revise 2014’s Enforced Disappeared Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Since then, successive governments had made several attempts to settle the TJ issue. But all the efforts made by the government failed after conflict victims challenged the proposed law at the Supreme Court.
Responding to a writ petition filed by the conflict victims, the apex court had ordered the government to formulate a law on transitional justice in accordance with international standards. Based on the court verdict, the government has proposed a new law on transitional justice.