The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) has written to government bodies and the former rebel party, seeking all war-era dossiers in a significant step so far by the transitional justice mechanism which has faced criticism for its abysmal performance.
The transitional justice body was formed to investigate into conflict-era cases 11 months ago, but it is yet to become fully functional due to the lack of regulations.
The CIEDP had earlier forwarded draft regulations to the government.
But the Cabinet is yet to endorse the draft. Hence, the commission’s work has been limited to interacting with victims and civil society organisations.
The CIEDP on Friday sought policies, strategies and organisational structures of the Nepal Army, Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the National Investigation Department through home and defence ministries. It has also sought details of the chain of command and additional office posts created during the insurgency.
“A review of war policies and strategies adopted by the warring parties is crucial to establish organisational or individual connection with incidents that occurred during the conflict,” said CIEDP Chairman Lokendra Mallick.
The commission is mandated to investigate into cases that occurred between 1996 and 2006. The move is a major step as majority of the incidents of disappearance were carried out by the state.
According to the National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing Nepal (Nefad), around 77 percent of 1,400 disappeared cases were committed by the state, while 10 percent were committed by the rebel Maoists and perpetrators of 13 percent incidents are yet to be established.
The government had carried out ‘Operation Romeo’ and ‘Operation Kilo Sera II’ just after the insurgency began. After the Nepal Army refused to fight the insurgents, the government had created the Armed Police Force.
The declaration of state of emergency and mobilisation of the Army after the attack on the barracks in Dang resulted in more deaths. The government had then introduced Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance 2004 (TADO) to deal with the rebels, which was used for illegal arrest, detention, torture and killings.
Similarly, the then CPN (Maoist), which united with CPN (Unity Centre) to become UCPN (Maoist) in 2009, has now been split into CPN (Maoist), CPN-Maoist parties and a section of cadres led by Baburam Bhattarai has formed Naya Shakti recently. The then Maoists had launched several attacks on police posts and army barracks.
“Besides, the warfare documents are important for us to recommend institutional reforms, which is one of the mandates of the commission,” said Mallick. As a transitional justice body, the commission is responsible for suggesting legal and institutional reforms to ensure non-recurrence of such incident in the future.
The decade-long insurgency killed over 16,000 people and whereabouts of over 1,300 people still remain unknown.