KATHMANDU, Jan 8: Almost 10 months after its formation, the recommendation committee formed to suggest members for the transitional justice (TJ) bodies is now preparing to make those recommendations.
Members of the recommendation committee said efforts are underway to submit a final list of names to the government on Wednesday. They said the recommendation process could be completed within this week if the Wednesday target eludes at the last moment.
“If everything goes as planned the final name list of candidates for the TJ bodies could be unveiled tomorrow,” said Prem Bahadur Khadka. “We are at the very last stage.”
A meeting of the committee has been called for 2 pm on Wednesday.
Altogether 61 individuals including almost all former commissioners have applied for positions on the two TJ bodies – Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons. Except for former TRC head Surya Kiran Gurung, all TJ officials – then CIEDP chief Lokendra Mallick and former members from both commissions – have applied for reappointment to their old jobs.
The recommendation committee has made up its mind not to re-appoint former commissioners, as a large group of conflict victims are opposed to them, citing their inability to make the expected progress in resolving the insurgency-era cases while they were in offices.
Despite their four-year terms, the then commissioners had made little progress. Conflict victims are miffed over their approach to the whole issue and have been lobbying the authorities not to ‘re-appoint disqualified people to the same positions’.
Sources privy to the development say Ganesh Prasad Bhatta is likely to get the position of chief of the TRC, where most cases of serious human rights violation are registered. It was not yet clear who is to be given responsibility for the CIEDP, with the committee already decided not to re-appoint former chief Mallick.
Failure to settle the insurgency–era cases even 14 years after the signing of the comprehensive peace accord has became a headache for politicians and security officials, especially those accused of the killings, torture and rape, among other human rights abuses, during the decade-long Maoist armed insurgency.
In order to reassure conflict victims that the government is working to take them on board, the government is preparing to hold nationwide consultations on drafting the necessary laws. The consultations are supposed to discuss possible ways to wind up the TJ process.
“It seems the government wants to conclude the appointments to the TJ bodies and draft the laws simultaneously,” said Bhagiram Chaudhari, president of the Conflict Victims Common Platform.
“The decision not to re-appoint former commissioners is good,” he said, adding, “It would have been better if new commissioners were recommended after setting out certain criteria and holding wider discussions among the victims.”
Chaudhari said the government is trying to hoodwink the conflict victims and the international community by showing some progress before sending its representatives to Geneva for the Universal Periodic Review briefings.
Nepal is widely criticized for not concluding the TJ process as it promised at several international forums.
“We want justice, no more just face-saving tactics,” said Chaudhari.