Future venues of Transitional Justice in Nepal, Issues of Child Soldiers in Truth and Reconciliation Commission with Civil Society Activist in Nepal

Interaction

(July 2, 2019)

Schedule and Agenda:

Date: July 2, 2019 Tuesday

Time: 4:00 PM -5:30 PM

Venue: Yellow Pagoda Hotel, Jamal, Kathmandu

Agenda: Updates on Lenin Bista’s Europe tour and experiences oninternationalizing the issues of Child Soldiers of Nepal

Lenin Bista’s experience from recent Europe tour to internationalize the issues of Child Soldiers

Lenin Bista started with the background of the issues of the child soldiers of Nepal and explained about the recent status of child soldiers movement that how they were neglected and were disqualified to be integrated in National Army and not qualified for Voluntary retirement that means left unattended without any reparation and reconciliation packages by the United Nation Mission in Nepal(UNMIN) where Nepal Government and the Political Leadership indicating the then Maoist Party remained silent. After 7 years of discharge from the cantonment, now they have unified for the movement of recognition and are been able to demand for their rights against victimization as child soldiers during the Civil War.

Two Commission were formed for Transitional Justice Mechanism in 2015; Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission for Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Person (CIEDP) and were dissolved without results.

And Truth and reconciliation Commission (TRC), the responsible one to deal with this issue did not even registered and responded over any of the cases of Child Soldiers. With the help of some Scholars, Activist and Civil Society Organization, we have been able to realize about our rights from the State. And are demanding to include the issues of Child Soldiers in TRC act to be amended. There were many incidents that the Government tried to weaken our movement, even I was stopped at the airport while travelling to Thailand without any reason, different steps were taken to dismantle our movement and obstruct the documentation of our agendas. We have been boycotted and restricted for justice through Transitional Justice mechanism.

Fortunately, I have got an opportunity to travel to the Europe and been able to meet personnel from different Human Right Organization, Transitional Justice Experts, Parliamentarians, Human right Defenders from Multiple European Agencies where I got to know that there are still the room for internationalization of the issues of child soldiers where International Criminal Court can take the stake if it is not resolved by domestic legal instruments within the country.

We were victimized, thousands of people lost their lives, thousands were disappeared, injured, raped and displaced and are still waiting for justice. We are seeking domestic solution for this issue, if not we will have no option other than approaching ICC for Justice.

Om Prakash Aryal,

Prominent Advocate and Human Right Activist in Nepal

Using Children in the Warfare is a Serious War Crime. UN Security Council decided to send UNMIN to Nepal and it was UNMIN who involved in disqualifying them and also indirectly tagged them as child soldiers, it was the mistake of UNMIN itself that means mistake by the UN who failed to protect the rights of discharged child soldiers. And it is the responsibility of UN to take step upon this Issue. There is an example that UN Security Council nullified the constitution of South Africa which was based on racial discrimination. UN established ICTY and ICTR to prosecute the war criminals. That means separate court could be established, if the country’s court and constitution are not able to respond the issues of war Crime, crime against Humanity and genocide. ICC is a regular court in relation with UN.

Though Nepal is not party to Rome Statute, Nepal’s war crimes and crimes against humanity cases could be referred to ICC if Security Council so decides or ICC can at least start preliminary examination of situations of Nepal under subject matter jurisdiction- because victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity of conflict era are made to be displaced in ICC member states as well. If displacement is linked to war crimes originated in Nepal after 2002, then chances of invoking jurisdiction of ICC is likely.

Pradeep Pokherel

Human Right Activist

There were multiple stakeholders who were responsible for this issue, and was a big mistake by UNMIN leaving 4008 ex-combatants without any recognition, livelihood support, and reconciliation. Though Nepal had unique modality of transitional Justice, we had two separate commissions for

transitional Justice but failed to deliver the result. Issues of Child soldiers was not responded by Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act. The victim Communities will not feel relief unless these Acts are amended as per the verdict of Supreme and guideline of UN Geneva Convention. And the issues of child Soldiers should be addressed through Transitional Justice Mechanism. Political leadership never took this issue seriously even the human right activist neglected it before, now the issue has come the surface political leadership must be serious on resolving this issue because “No fear led to the impunity.”

Vishnu Pathak

Former Member, Commission for Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Person (CIEDP),

Nepal It was a serious violation of Human Right; State must take theresponsibility to address the issues raised by the child soldiers. Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [former] should have taken the initiatives to resolve this issue, as the prevailing TRC Act itself opens the door to incorporate the Issues of child soldiers on its Jurisprudence. State must be accountable to the recognition of their loss, dignity and professional rights/livelihood.

Bhawani Kharel

Civil Society Activist

Political willingness is very important for better institutions and their functioning, political leadership never desired to make independent, strong and capable Mechanism for Transitional Justice where political leadership was often misguided by the top-level Activist who were very close to leadership that induced fear among the Leaders that weaken the system. It

needs wider consultations among multiple stakeholders to avoid the misunderstandings over legal provision and to find best possible solution.

Nirajan Thapaliya

Director, Amnesty International Nepal

Use of the child soldiers during the Civil war was fact where UNMIN was a facilitator for combatant verification, there were two categories Minors and late recruits who were disqualified as army confinement. Rehabilitation, livelihood support, and Security of this fraction comes under the responsibility of State which was never successful because of the conflict of Interest among the political leadership.

Prem Singh Basnet

Rd. General, Nepal Army

Using children in rebellion force is a serious crime, it against the humanitarian value of Eastern literature. No one has right to destroy the future of children. We have to find the solution for this issue at domestic level. Justice and

livelihood of these children should be secured by the State.

Government should be responsible to protect the right of its citizen and those who were victimized during must be responded with due sensitivity. We have our solidarity in your movement.

Charan Prasai

President, Accountability Watch Committee

Lenin’s visit to Europe remained a stepping stone in the Transitional Justice Process of Nepal. It has changed the discourse of transitional Justice mechanism and understanding among the activist, Human right practitioners, and other responsible authorities. New Transitional Justice Mechanism to be made have to address the issues of child soldiers, otherwise it will not be accepted.

Moreover, it has energized the victims and their movement who are still denied for the Justice even after the 13 years of Peace Accord. Movement by Lenin and his team has brought new dynamics that the issues Civil war will definitely be internationalized if not well responded domestically.

Prasai concluded the interaction with solidarity message for transitional Justice Movement of Nepal.

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