International human rights organizations have said Nepal has made no real progress on transitional justice 13 years after signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Issuing a press statement on Tuesday, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and TRIAL International have said Nepal has made no real progress on questions of justice, truth and reparations for victims of gross human rights violations and abuses during its 10-year conflict.
"While two commissions have been set up to address conflict-era atrocities, they have not been effective and impunity and denial of access to justice to victims remain prevalent," the four human rights organizations state.
They are particularly concerned about the recent moves that suggest that the government will go forward with the appointing of commissioners without making necessary reforms to the legal framework.
“Last week marked the 13th anniversary of the CAP (signed on November 21, 2006) that ended the conflict in Nepal. It is astonishing that so little progress has been made in responding to the clearly articulated concerns and demands of conflict victims,” the statement quotes Frederick Rawski, ICJ’s Asia-Pacific Director as saying. “These demands have included a transparent and consultative process for the appointment of commissioners, and a genuine good-faith effort by political leaders and lawmakers to address serious weaknesses in the existing legal framework.”
The quartet expresses concerns that the government may simply re-appoint past commissioners or make political appointments to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on the Investigation of Enforced Disappearances that will not be adequately impartial and independent, and warn that the commissions will not be recognized by the international community.
“It is deeply disappointing that the government has repeatedly attempted to appoint the commissioners without adequate consultation and transparency. The commissions will not gain the trust of the victims and the international community if the political parties continue to interfere in the appointment process,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.
The four organizations say the move suggests that the commissions will be re-constituted without amending the legal framework governing the transitional justice process and ensuring its compliance with Nepal’s international human rights law obligations, as directed by Nepal’s Supreme Court and demanded by civil society and victims.
The ICJ, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International have repeatedly expressed concerns that effective transitional justice mechanisms require strong legal foundations consistent with international law and good practices, and the political will to address the concerns of victims of the conflict.
They reiterate their calls to amend the 2014 Transitional Justice Act to make it consistent with the Supreme Court’s rulings and international human rights standards, as well as for the initiation of a genuine consultative and transparent process for the appointment of commissioners