Will Nepali Congress band together with Maoist forces in transitional justice issues?

Following the Supreme Court order to register a case against Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, war-era Maoist leaders have come together against the decision. Nepali Congress has also indicated to stand in favor of Maoist forces.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Nepal’s grand old ‘democratic party’ Nepali Congress on Tuesday clearly hinted that it will stand together with Maoist, radical communist forces, in transitional justice issues. 

Nepali Congress leader Ramesh Lekhak said that transitional justice issue is not concerned to any government or political party, instead it is an issue that should be addressed by the state. 

His remark comes in the wake of Nepal’s Supreme Court order that allows the registration of writ petition against him for deaths during Nepal’s decade-long insurgency. 

Speaking to journalists at Singha Durbar, the administrative hub of the country, he said that the Supreme Court had already decided that the transitional justice issues should be solved through the transitional justice process. 

He, however, did not explicitly describe why such a process remained pending for decades after the Comprehensive Peace Accord, an agreement signed in 2006 by the Government of Nepal and then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to end the conflict. 

It is the responsibility of the state to ensure justice to victims and families of victims of all the incidents that occurred during the conflict-era, he said. “It is responsibility of the state to logically conclude all the issues. State includes government, parliament, all political parties and even the Supreme Court.”

There has been negligence from our part. Justice and compensation process has remained pending for a long time, he further said. However, all the issues should be resolved through transitional justice arrangements.

On Sunday, Moaist leaders had also expressed similar views on the issue. In the statement signed by party Secretary Dev Prasad Gurung, Maoist had strongly objected to the Supreme Court order and dubbed the move against the process of ‘judicial review’.

The Maoist chair in January 2020 had said he would take the responsibility for the killings of 5,000 people during the conflict, not all of 17,000 deaths. While the wartime atrocities including killings, disappearances, rapes, and torture still remain unaddressed, political parties in Nepal are mostly indifferent to the demand for justice. 

After 17 years of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, Nepal’s Supreme Court on 3 March had  ordered to register the writ petition submitted to the Court against Maoist Chair Dahal.

In April 2014, Nepal’s parliament had endorsed transitional justice law, setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons. The both agencies, however, have been heavily politicized and no actions have been initiated against any alleged perpetrators.