NEPAL: Transitional justice is not an excuse for mass amnesty

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) welcomes the move of the Nepal government to form a taskforce that will draft new bills related to transitional justice. The expert team has been given 10 days to submit new drafts on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission on Enforced Disappearances (CED).

A year ago, in March 2013, when President Ram Baran Yadav endorsed the ordinance created to form a TRC and CED, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a verdict that stopped the formation of these commissions. The Court found that provisions for the commissions detailed in the ordinance did not meet international standards. The SC directed the government not to allow mass amnesty for those involved in serious rights violations, i.e. murder, abduction, and rape, during the armed insurgency. This time around, the government will have to draft the transitional justice bills keeping the SC’s verdict in mind.

The Maoists have been pressing for a TRC, but they also want provisions like mass amnesty for all conflict-era crimes and human rights violations. If the creation of such a TRC is delayed, the Maoists fear the arrest of their cadres who have allegedly engaged in human rights violations committed during the decade- long conflict in Nepal.

It is a matter of concern that Maoist leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidya have been openly taunting the government to try and catch them and put them behind bars. They claim responsibility for all actions as they headed the Maoist party during the insurgency.

Nepal needs a transitional justice mechanism to investigate and punish perpetrators, but it seems Maoists see it as a means to wash away their sins.

The government, in the meantime, should not wait until the formation of TRC and CED to begin investigating the case of Krishna Prasad Adhikari, who was falsely charged with being a spy and killed by the Maoists in 2004. The police have merely been arresting suspects and releasing them in the name of investigations. They should stop this circus. If anything dire were to happen to Nanda Prasad and Ganga Maya Adhikari, the parents of Krishna Prasad who are on indefinite hunger strike, the Nepali government will be responsible.

The AHRC urges the Nepal government not to delay the formation of the TRC and CED any further. It should make these commissions independent and impartial. It should also conduct meaningful consultations with victims, organizations representing victims, and human rights lawyers and experts so that issues and concerns are properly addressed during the formation of these commissions. The government should make this a priority.

The AHRC further urges the Nepal government to respect the Supreme Court order of 2 January 2014 regarding TRC and CED. The government should ensure that these commissions are formed as per international laws and standards. The commissions should not allow political parties an excuse for mass amnesty.

Conflict-era victims have been waiting for justice and the whereabouts of their disappeared relatives for eight years now. Their wait should end with meaningful justice, adequate compensation, and redress.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-058-2014
Countries : Nepal,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions, Judicial system, Right to remedy, Rule of law, Transitional Justice,