INTERACTION PROGRAM ON AVENUES OF TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN NEPAL.

Report

Schedule and Agenda

Date: 26th September 2019.

Time: 2pm-5pm

Venue: Nepal Academy Hall Kamaladi, Kathmandu

Organised by: Nepal Human Right Commission (NHRC), Harihar Bhawan, PulchowkLalitpur

Agenda: Resolution of Transitional Justice Issues in Nepal.

Speakers

Anup Raj Sharma, Chairperson Nepal Human Right Commission (NHRC) Puspa Kamal Dahal, Chairperson, Nepal Communist Party

Sher Bahadur Deuba, Chairperson, Nepali Congress Madhav Kumar Nepal, Ex-Prime Minister

Representative from the Victim Families.

Ram Kumar Bhandari, Advisor, Conflict Victim National Alliance, Nepal Suman Adhikari, Family Activist

Reeta Karki,Chairperson, Conflict Victim Soldiers Family Association Bhagiram Chaudhari, Chairperson, Conflict Victim Common Platform Aashish Limbu, Chairperson, Discharged PLA Nepal Bhawana Bidrohi, Conflict Victim

Lenin Bista, In charge Discharged PLA Nepal

1. Background

Nepal Human Right Commission (NHRC) has organised an Interaction program on issues Transitional Justice in Nepal and its future avenues with the aim to initiate effective dialogue among the immediate stakeholders of ten year long Armed Conflict in Nepal with Mainstream Political Leadership on 26th September 2019. The program was conducted in the chairmanship of Anup Raj Sharma; Chairperson of Nepal Human Right Commission where Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ex-prime Minister and Chairperson of Nepali Congress, Puspa Kamal Dahal; Ex-Prime Minister and Chairperson of Nepal Communist Party, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Ex-prime Minister were the speaker during the session. The program was aimed to connect the families who were directly and indirectly affected by the ten-year long armed conflict in Nepal with the higher political leadership and seek the common ground for justice. The program was formally inaugurated with the welcome speech by Anup Raj during which he explained about the need of relevance of interaction program. According to Sudeep Pathak, Member of NHRC, the program was aimed to hear the voice of the participants and speakers to resolve the issue of Transitional Justice in Nepal which is the only remaining agenda of the mandate of Comprehensive Peace Accord. Mr Pathak also reminded about the past decisions made by the Supreme Court and the International Standards of Transitional Justice need to be made through proper coordination with concerned parties and the families.

2. Relevance of the Program

During the last 13 years after Comprehensive Peace Accord, two Commission for Transitional Justice; Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission for Investigation of Disappeared Person (CIEDP) were formed in 2015 had finished their four-year long tenure without the proper inference. Nearly 66000 cases of human right violation have been registered in these commissions by the victims/ the survivors. None of these Commission has completed their investigation and have not submitted any report to the Government.

Act on Investigation of Disappeared Person, Truth reconciliation Act-2015 are been criticised by the families for the amendment from the initial days, international humanitarian agencies are continuously paying their concern and recommending to amend the Transitional Justice Act as per the international Standard by avoiding amnesty for the serious cases of human right violation. Also, the Supreme Court has ordered Nepal Government to amend the Transitional Justice Act as per the International Standard so that the Commissions could work properly to insure the Justice for the victim and the families.

Now, it is been already six months that the Commissions are without the Commissioners, Government of Nepal has formed recommendation Committee in the chairmanship of Om Prakash Mishra to appoint the Commissioner for both of the Commissions. The recommendation Committee has not appointed the Commissioners till the date. At this situation, the victims and the families are continuously approaching the Human Right Commission to play a facilitative role for the effective dialogue and interaction concerned with all the procedures and appointments to ensure the Justice and resolve the issues of Transitional Justice in Nepal through appropriate mechanism.

3. Objectives

The ultimate objective of the interaction program was to facilitate a wider discussion among the various parties/stakeholders of the Conflict through a common platform in order to seek a domestic solution of transitional Justice in Nepal. Anup Raj Sharma has mentioned the following points as a prime objective of the interaction Program in his welcome note.

  1. To discuss about the obstacle of Transitional Justice issues in Nepal in last Thirteen years.
  • To appoint the capable personnel/expertise in Transitional Justice Commissions as per the mandate of Comprehensive Peace Accord.
  • To facilitate favourable environment to implement the verdict of Supreme Court/directions through necessary amendments in TJ act.
  • To continue the regular hearings of the victim families by engaging them in an appropriate procedure.
  • To initiate higher level political dialogue for Transitional Justice.
  • To gather the political opinions and remind the political leadership about the Commitment made by previous Government and Prime Ministers.
  • To resolve the issues of child soldiers, as an important agenda of 12 points agreement which is yet to be responded.

Political leaders from various political parties were given with the floor to express their ideas and opinion to respond the issues of TJ and victim representatives were asked to put their demands and agendas as a key stakeholder of the process. The program had a significant participation of human right activist in Nepal, victim families, civil society activist, and from the security forces including Nepal army and Nepal Police.

4. Recommendation from NHRC

Anup Raj Sharma, Chairperson of NHRC reminded the political leadership and the Government and put lights upon the current situation of Transitional Justice in Nepal. Following were the major recommendations by the NHRC during the Program.

  1. The signatories of Comprehensive Peace Accord made in 21st November 2006 are in the Parliament and also leading the Government, they should take the responsibility to fulfil the remaining agendas of the Peace Accord.
  • The TJ commissions which are in the process of formation should be provided with sufficient legal frameworks and environment to resolve the issues, also the commissioners are to be appointed on the basis of their qualifications, moral background and capabilities and the selection should be irrespective of Political inclination.
  • Acts related to Commission for the Investigation of Disappeared Persons and Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be amended as per the verdict of Supreme Court made in 2015, and should be compatible with the International Principle of Human Right.
  • The Commission should regularly interact and should work in a victim friendly manner and should acknowledge the voices of the victims in an appropriate mechanism.
  • The Commission should initiate proper dialogue with the victim communities regarding reparation, and relief. Also, the new Commissions should address the issues of child soldiers, included in Peace Accord but not responded by the previously made TJ commissions.
  • Higher level political leadership should take the stake on resolving the issues of TJ which is different from regular justice system.
  • The concept of blanket amnesty will not be accepted by the victims as well as the Human Right Commissions and it will lead to the accident.

5. Representative Voices from the Victims of the Conflict

Ram Kumar Bhandari, Advisor, Conflict Victim National Alliance Nepal

Ram Kumar Bhandari is a transitional Justice Activist in Nepal. His father was disappeared by the Nepal Army during Maoist conflict and he has since become a leading activist in Nepal and working for the human rights. The major agendas raised by Mr Bhandari are as follows.

  1. Mr. Bhandari acknowledged the NHRC for organising effective interaction program at appropriate situation.
  • The state has not been accountable to the conflict victims for resolution of the conflict. The state has not taken it responsibility to ensure the justice for injured PLAs, tortures, and to explain about the status of forcefully disappeared people during the conflict.
  • It is the responsibility of the State to search, and clarify about the status of its citizen but the state is doing nothing on it.
  • Despite of the many recommendations made by the National Human Right Commission; it is a weakness of the Government that Victims are still denied with the Justice.
  • The guilty officials of Nepalese army and the police during the conflict are continuously been promoted. State should discourage the perpetrator to establish Justice in the society.
  • Victims are still denied with the Justice because of the incapable and weak Transitional Justice Commissions.
  • State should seriously take this issue and should immediately respond it through consultations with the victims and should end the culture of impunity.

Suman Adhikari, Conflict Victim Common Platform

Suman Adhikari, son of Muktinath Adhikari who was tortured and killed by the Maoist during the conflict is a leading activist in Nepal and was a former Chairperson of Conflict

Victim                                                                   Common                                                                                  Platform.

Mr Adhikari put his demands as follows:

  1. State has been unable to ensure the Justice for the Victims even after a decade of Peace process started.
  • State should act as a guardian and establish the Justice in the Society, but we are still struggling for justice.
  • People injured during the conflict are dying because of lack of proper care and treatments. Effective solution should be made to heal the traumas of the conflict.
  • Now a days the question has been raised against the attitude of the State and the Political leadership whether they are willing for seeking solution or not.

Reeta Karki, Conflict Victim Soldiers Family Association

  1. During the initial days the victim families were not together, this is the good opportunity to resolve the issue of the conflict.
  • State should acknowledge the sacrifice of the soldiers and recognize cost their demise for this political transformation.
  • Families are still suffering with the livelihood issues It is the responsibility of the State to take care the families and injured persons.
  • State has not provided proper relief to the families; we are also demanding for identity card and other social securities.

Bhagiram Chaudhari, Chairperson Conflict Victim Common Platform

Bhagiram Chaudhari is a family activist who has lost his brother and sister in law during the conflict is a Chaudhari of the Conflict Victim Common Platform. Mr Chaudhari added following agendas for Transitional Justice during the session.

  1. It is not a new issue which needs any further explanation, its been a decade of CPA, State never became serious to resolve this issue.
  2. It is necessary that the effectiveness of Justice should respond context of the crime.
  • Transitional Justice is directly connected with the Peace Process, peace process will not be concluded unless the issues of Transitional Justice are responded.
  • Justice should be ensured through domestic mechanism through democratic methods.
  • The issue of Justice should not be politicised, it is a national issue all the stakeholder should come together where the State should take the initiatives.
  • Previous Commissions were not victim friendly, and incapable to deliver appropriate solutions.
  • The Commission to be made must be victim friendly and to be formed inly after the act amendments if we are really willing to ensure the Justice.

Ashish Limbu – D-PLAN

  1. It necessary to recall the past and analyze the mistakes that was made by the State.
  • Victims of the conflict are the outcome of the then Maoist and the State both.
  • State should implement guideline of the Comprehensive Peace Accord to resolve the issues of TJ.
  • 4000 child soldiers had to pay the cost of Democracy/Republic State by being discharged without any reintegration plan.
  • We have been asking the State accountability for discharging us and destroying our childhood and the future.

Bhawana Bidrohi, Conflict Victim

  1. I was escaped from thousands of armies and the police to bring this political and social change in the country.
  • We fought against impunity and for social justice, now we ourselves are suffering from the same thing.
  • Now we are the citizen of republic State which was possible in the leadership of Chairman Prachanda, but what happened to those who were marching with him?
  • We are continuously demanding for legal and Social Justice with the State through Transitional Justice Process.
  • Approaching to the International Criminal Court is only the option if this issue is not resolved at domestic level.
  • The State should reform capable and victim friendly Commissions with proper Acts and legal ground to respond the issues of conflict victim.

Lenin Bista, Chairperson – D-PLAN , Peace Envisioners

  1. It is an optimistic effort by NHRC that all the stakeholders of the transitional Justice Process are together in a single platform.
  • I remember the days when we were ready to kill and die for the Social and Political Change in the leadership of Puspa Kamal Dahal. Now we are compelled to rise voice against the same leadership for Justice.
  • We had also warned the Leadership to approach International Criminal Court if the issues of Child Soldiers are not resolved through domestic efforts.
  • This facilitative session organised by NHRC has added hope on Transitional Justice.
  • This kind of gathering along with the higher political leadership has increased a hope of Justice.
  • The issues of Transitional Justice belong to us, we have to find the resolution of this issue at domestic level through continuous interaction, consultations and capable TJ Commissions.

6. Opinion and Commitment from the Speakers

  1. Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ex- Prime Minister and the Chairperson of Nepali Congress

Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ex- Prime Minister and the Chairperson of Nepali Congress had a significant role in Peace process and Peace Accord in Nepal which was signed by the then Chairperson of Nepali congress Girija Prasad Koirala. Mr Deuba as the first speaker, appreciated the Interaction program conducted by NHRC and put his opinion as follows.

  1. The state should properly communicate and interact with the victims before bringing any acts related to the TJ.
  • Transitional Justice Acts made without proper consultations will not be effective to deliver its functions
  • The present Government has tried to narrow down the jurisprudence of constitutional bodies which should be corrected.
  • People victimized from both the parties of the conflict should be provided with acceptable justice.

Mr Deuba concluded his short remarks and stated that the freedom and human rights are complementary to each other.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, Ex-Prime Minister

Madhav Kumar Nepal, leader of Nepal Communist Party had a notable contribution in the Peace Process of Nepal. Followings are the major remarks made by Mr Nepal are as follows.

  1. Traumas of the conflicts are very harmful for the State, it was a big regret that the issues of the Transitional Justice have not been still resolve in Nepal. Political leadership should also accept this weakness.
  • Commission for the Investigation of Disappeared Persons and the Truth and reconciliation Commission were not been able to work previously, they should be strengthened and made functional in future.
  • The effectiveness of TJ depends upon the interactive environment and the dialogue made among the victims and State agencies.
  • The state should hear the voice of the conflicting party and the victim families in order to ensure victim friendly justice.

Mr. Nepal concluded his remarks stating that there are many issues of crime against humanity and severe case of human right violations. These traumas should be healed through collective efforts.

Puspa Kamal Dahal, Ex- Prime Minister and the Chairperson of the Nepal Communist Party

Puspa Kamal Dahal was the one of the signatories of Comprehensive Peace Accord, who lead both twelve year-long armed conflict and the Peace Process in Nepal. Mr Dahal now is the Chairperson of the Nepal Communist Party, the largest party in the Parliament.

Followings are the remarks made by Mr Dahal as leading figure of Peace Process and the Chairperson of the Largest Political Party.

  1. Victim families had the right to express their dissatisfactions and the grievances to the political leadership and was thankful to the Commission to create the platform for interaction.
  • We should take the ownership over Transitional Justice Process and we should assume our responsibility to resolve it.
  • We must be committed to deliver a new modality of homegrown Transitional justice acceptable to the international Community.
  • It is a fact that the Transitional Justice process has been delayed, it’s been 13 years of Peace Process, we are compassionate about the pains and sufferings if the families.
  • It was unfortunate that it took longer time to write the constitution. We are still been criticised because there are lots of things to resolved. All the political parties should come together and assume their role to fulfil the common goal.
  • We could not make capable Commissions in previous days, along with the Commission political leadership is also responsible for this.
  • Now again we have an opportunity to resolve these issues if we fail again, achievements made till the date will be lost, we will lose again.
  • I am ready to accept any kind of punishment if I am proven guilty by International principle of Human right.
  • It is my personal responsibility to lead the peace process in a conclusion as I was leading the armed revolution and was the key stakeholder of peace agreement and the peace process.
  1. Act amendment and the law making should go parallelly where consultations at grassroot level should be made.
  1. Constitution Writing, Disarmament and the reintegration of Maoist Cadres into the National Army were the major achievement of Peace Process. Transitional Justice is left now which should be resolved through consultation, and collaborative efforts.

Mr Dahal concluded his remarks by appealing with all the stakeholders of the Peace process to assume the personal responsibility so that we could develop and give a new modality of Transitional Justice to the world through democratic democracy.

Other Participants

Matrika Yadav, Minister of Industry

Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Leader, Nepal Communist Party

Dr Minendra Rijal, Leader Nepali Congress

Member of the Parliament

Dev Gurung,

Agni Sapkota,

Ram Narayan Bidari,

Navaraj Silawal,

Krishna Lal Shrestha,

Yshhoda Subedi

Rekha Sharma

Former Member, NHRC

Prof. Kapil Shrestha

Sushil Sushil Pyakurel

Civil Society Activist

Dr Sundar Mani Dixit

Dr Surya Dhungel

Dr Gopal Krishna Siwakoti

Charan Prasai

Sovakar Budathoki

Report By:

Lenin Bista, Chairman, Peace Envisioner

Prabal Chandra Thapa, Campaign Coordinator, NEFAD Nepal

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