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12 years on since Peace Accord, conflict survivors yet to ‘feel’ justice

Kalika Khadka, KATHMANDU: The Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) which formally ended the decade-long armed conflict in the country and brought the then Maoist rebels into the mainstream politics has completed 12 years. However, the conflict affected people are yet to ‘experience’ justice.
The CPA was signed between the then state side and the rebel side on November 21, 2006. Tomorrow marks the completion of 12 years of this epoch-making CPA.
The government formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) on February 2015 to determine the truth and facts behind the incidents that took place during the conflict period and to punish the perpetrators.
Constitution of Nepal had fixed two-year term of the twin commissions and also mentioned that the term could be extended by a year if they could not complete the works as per their terms of reference.
The two transitional justice commissions completed their three-year term including the extended one year term, but could not complete their works. So, their term was extended by one year more through an ordinance and only about two and half months remain of this.
In those nearly four years, the two commissions collected complaints from the conflict survivors. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has received nearly 60 thousand complaints while the CIEDP has received 3,197 complaints.
It seems both these commissions are not in a position to complete all their works within February 10, 2019.
The conflict victims are gradually beginning to lose hope that their complaints would be looked into by the commissions and that they will get justice in the remaining period. They have demanded that either the office-bearers of both the commissions should be changed or a special court set up to look into the complaints for prompt work and justice.
The national convention aims to find a solution to the transitional justice kicked off in Kathmandu from today in the context the victims have been denied justice as the signing of the CPA is on the eve of the completion of the 12 years. The two-day conference organised by the Common Platform of Conflict Victims was inaugurated by Minister for Law, Justice and Federal Affairs Bhanubhakta Dhakal.
On the occasion, he said the government was committed to addressing the issues related with transitional justice and ensuring justice to the victims without prejudice. “The woes of conflict cause pains not only to the survivors, but to the nation also,” he said, adding that taking the war-era cases to a conclusion remained as one of the top priorities of the government. As he said, preparations are going on to formulate victims-friendly laws and not to allow perpetrators of cases of gross human rights violations walk freely.
Similarly, Communist Party of Nepal (CPN)’s leader Haribol Gajurel said conflict victims had been enduring the pains for a long and their woes must be healed without further delay. The delay in granting justice will give birth to frustrations and could push the country again towards another conflict, he asserted, seeking the all-side unity and cooperation to address the issue.
Nepali Congress leader Ramesh Lekhak said although achievements like new constitution, establishment of republic, and federal inclusive state were gained after the conflict, it was delayed to deliver transitional justice.
He said, “Discussion was held regarding providing justice to the survivors. The NC is committed in this regard.”
Lekhak further said a special court can be established as the alternative if both commissions fail to carry out works for transitional justice, stressing that the government should make the commissions more active.
Similarly, human right activists– Sushil Pyakurel and Kapil Shrestha– stressed that the government and political leadership should involve to resolve problems related to transitional justice as the pain of the conflict is same for all.
Nepal Bar Association President Sher Bahadur KC expressed the view that conflict related cases should be settled by establishing special court as both commissions seem feeble to carry out their activities in this regard.
Founding chairperson of Chautari, Suman Adhikari, said that there should be a review as both the commissions have failed to carry out activities till four years and justice should be given to the survivors as soon as possible.
The conflict victims have been preparing ‘citizen’s charter’ and making it public on Wednesday in order to exert pressure on government to provide justice to the victims soon. More than 200 representatives of conflict survivors from all districts have been participating in the two-day conference. RSS

Published Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 | 11:06 PM

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