The government has made little progress in addressing the outstanding issues of transitional justice in its 100 days in office.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Friday admitted the delay, blaming it on “consultation with stakeholders”. “An amendment bill related to the transitional justice commissions is in final stage,” he said.
Dahal took the office promising to amend the laws related to transitional justice for making the commissions’ work more effective and to provide compensation for the victims of the decade-long conflict. None of the promises has materialised.
“Dahal’s promises had rekindled hope among conflict victims,” said Suman Adhi-kari, president of Conflict Victims Common Platform. “Now we realise that it was mere rhetoric to fool us.”
Adhikari, whose father was hacked to death by then rebel Maoists in 2002, said the victims’ community had been disappointed at the slow progress of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “It’s four months since we registered complaints with the commission,” he said. “The commission has not informed us about their status.”
The TRC has received 57,531 complaints till date. It expects a few more thousand cases as many in remote areas have sent them via post.
“It’s true the commission has been unable to start investigation into the complaints,” said TRC Chairperson Surya Kiran Gurung. “The government has not been supportive of our calls.”
The commission last year forwarded a list of provisions that required to be amended but there has been no progress. Besides, the government has not provided necessary funds and staff for the commission to proceed with the probe. The commission lacks 41 officials at its central office while its request for budget to open offices in provinces has not been heeded.
“Given the number of complaints received and the nature of the cases, we need a good number of investigation officers and a group of experts,” said Gurung. “The government does not seem to have taken our request seriously. We will wait for some time though.” Gurung has already warned to resign if the government does not cooperate with the commission.
The Supreme Court last year struck down provisions of the Enforced Disappea-rances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission that were inconsistent with international laws and transitional justice practices. The Dahal-led government has not amended the laws, let alone criminalise torture and the act of disappearance.
“The victims are disappointed at the progress made in the transitional justice process over a hundred days,” said Ram Bhandari, the CVCP general secretary.
“The government has not even picked up the process from where the previous government had left off regarding law amendment.”
Bhandari argued that the government failed to empower the commission and expedite the transitional justice process.