As the transitional justice bodies remain idle in the lack of legal and organisational infrastructure, the National Human Rights Commission has been recommending the government action in conflict-era cases.
Of the 63 cases that the national rights body took its decisions on this month, 28 were related to insurgency-era incidents. Of them, 25 cases were dropped as they were resolved over the period, while the commission has recommended three cases for action from the government.
The cases dropped were related to abduction, illegal detention, threat and torture. The commission said that some claims could not be established through investigation. In the three cases, the commission has asked the government to identify
security personnel and then-rebel Maoist cadre who tortured Lokendra Malla of Kailali and book them. In 2002, Malla was first abducted by security officials and later by the Maoists who broke his legs in detention.
The NHRC has also directed the government to probe the disappearance of police constable Jhusi Chanda from Bhimdatta Municipality, Kanchanpur, in 2002. The commission found out that Chanda, who was initially dismissed from the post of police constable, was disappeared instead of killed in crossfire as was reported.
The commission has also asked the government to make arrangements for rehabilitation of Bed Prasad Regmi, who was displaced from Kerwani VDC in Rupandehi district. The Maoist rebels had seized Regmi’s property in 2004.
“The delay in decisions was due to a lingering investigation and a lack of office bearers at the commission,” said Bed Prasad Bhattarai, acting secretary at the NHRC.
The commission has received a good number of conflict-era cases, which it has promised to hand over to the transitional justice bodies for review. “We would have handed over those cases to the transitional justice bodies if they had started their investigation into them,” said Bhattarai.
The NHRC, one of the 79 institutions with A status in the 114-member global association of national human rights institutions, has been mandated to investigate and recommend action against all sorts of rights violation. The Supreme Court has ruled that the recommendations of the commission are mandatory for the government to implement. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons formed a year ago to look into war-era cases are still struggling to start their tasks. With endorsement of the regulations recently, the commissions are preparing to take complaints from the victims and their relatives.
“We will ask for the cases as and when required from the NHRC if further investigation is necessary,” said Lokendra Mallick, chairperson of the CIEDP. “They have also offered all kinds of support to us.” Nepal’s transitional justice process has come under the scanner of the international rights community.