The Social Justice and Human Rights Committee of Parliament has decided to summon the prime minister and the chiefs of major political parties to explain their position on the transitional justice process.
After visits to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons on Friday, the committee criticised the government’s attitude to wrapping up the peace process.
“We found that both the commissions are following their work plans,” said committee Chairman Sushil Kumar Shrestha. “But if the government does not streamline laws and provide budget and the required number of staff, the commissions will not be able to start detailed investigation in the near future.”
Shrestha, along with 15 committee members, visited the commissions’ offices to take stock of the progress made in the investigation into the complaints registered by the conflict victims.
The transitional justice bodies have just completed the first screening of more than 60,000 complaints received. The commissions, formed to look into the insurgency-era atrocities, have only two months now to probe the cases and recommend action against the perpetrators.
“We want clear stance of the prime minister and the chiefs of the major parties whether they want to move the process forward or scrap it altogether,” said Shrestha.
The government has not amended the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act as per the Supreme Court verdict issued last year. Nor has it criminalised torture and the act of disappearance.
“The government neither assigns its officials to the commission nor allows us to hire staff in contract,” said CIEDP Chairman Lokendra Mallick.
The government has not even approved the budget for the TRC to set up temporary bases in seven provinces for expediting detailed investigation into the complaints. In September, the commission forwarded a budget proposal, through the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, of Rs 67.2 million for its seven bases.
“It was encouraging to see the parliamentary committee express its concern over the commissions’ works,” said TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung.
“We want an answer from the prime minister,” said committee Chair Shrestha. “Political parties should also make their positions clear on the issue of transitional justice.”