As many as 42 conflict victim groups of Nepal raise objections to the faulty transitional justice bill

The victim community has appealed to the Human Rights Commission, Civil Society and Human Rights community, the media, and the international community for solidarity and cooperation in their fights for justice.

Conflict victim
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NL Today

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Kathmandu: Various communities of the victims of the decade-long armed conflict (1996-2006) have raised serious objections to the government’s attempts to endorse the bill that could provide amnesty to the perpetrators of heinous crimes committed during the war time. “We, the conflict victims, are seriously concerned regarding the “Bill for the Amendment of the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons, Truth, and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2071 (2014)” that the Government of Nepal registered in the parliament on March 9 by keeping the provision disagreed by the victims and other stakeholders,” reads the joint statement issued by the conflict victim community. 

Although some improvements such as the decision of the Special Court can be appealed to the Supreme Court within 35 days, the time limit for the Attorney General to decide to prosecute the case has been increased from 6 months to 1 year, several other important and controversial points have been kept as they are in the bill, they have said.  

We strongly condemn keeping the provisions related to killing after cruel torture or in a brutal manner, rape, the act of enforced disappearance, cruel or inhuman torture in the list of “serious violations of human rights” similar to the earlier Bill and enlisting murder, acts of maiming and causing physical disability as the list of offenses that could be recommendable for amnesty and reconciliation, they have mentioned in the statement.

The Bill has narrowed the scope of human rights violations and has placed several serious offenses into other forms of violations. “This is nothing but foul play from the government to free the perpetrators,” the victim community has said. “The Bill states that conflict-related cases will be prosecuted under the prevailing laws. This is an act of deceit from the Government, as the prevailing Penal Code implemented in 2017 has no retrospective application.”

They have drawn the attention of the government and political parties to the fact that the unilateral process imposed with the interests of the Government and political parties alone by ignoring the concerns and cooperation of the victim groups does not provide a solution. “If lessons are not learned from the failure of the strategy over the past 8 years, the entire transitional justice process along with the trust of the victim groups towards the Government and the Commissions will be broken. This will make the transitional justice process more complicated and not only the victims but also the Government and the political parties will suffer,” says the statement.

The victim community has requested the government, the ruling party, the parliament, the opposition, and other political parties to take concrete steps to immediately amend the objectionable provisions of the Bill that deprive the victims of justice and provide amnesty to the perpetrators of heinous crimes.  “We urge the Government and the parliament to make an overall peaceful, transparent, and victim-centric transitional justice process, to adopt gender-sensitive, victim-friendly, confidential, and safe procedures, to provide a special mechanism in the law to guarantee the safety of victims during the investigation and prosecution of the cases of rape that are yet to be filed by the victims, to ensure the right to truth, justice, and reparation of the victims by ensuring trust and participation of the victim groups in every process, and to ensure non-repetition of such armed conflict.”

The victim community has appealed to the Human Rights Commission, Civil Society and Human Rights community, the media, and the international community for solidarity and cooperation in their fights for justice. The joint statement has been endorsed by the following groups:

1.      Conflict Victims Common Platform (CVCP)

2.      Conflict Victims National Alliance (CVNA)

3.      Conflict Victim Women National Network (CVWN)

4.      National Network of Disabled Conflict Victims (NNDCV)

5.      Conflict Victims Orphans Society (CVOS)

6.      Conflict Victims Society for Justice (CVSJ)

7.      Conflict Victims Society, Provinces 1 and 2

8.      National Network of Families of Disappeared (NEFAD)

9.      Society of Nepal Maoist Victims Association

10.   Conflict Victims and Farmer Rights Society, Kailali

11.   Disabled Conflict Victims Association, Dolakha       

12.   Conflict-Affected Peoples Concerns Society, Dang

13.    Bandurmudhe Ghatana Sarokar Samiti       

14.    Conflict Victims Teachers Society

15.   Conflict Victims Self-Employment Skill Training Centre Nepal   

16.   Conflict Victims’ National Society

17.   Conflict Management and Displaced Concern Centre

18.   Conflict Victims’ Rights Forum, Myagdi

19.   National Network of Conflict-Related Rape Victim

20.   Guru Luitel Study and Development Center

21.   Maina Bal Bikash Samiti 

22.   Rina Arpan Dalit Smriti Pratisthan

23.   Ganesh Ujjan Foundation

24.   Muktinath Adhikari Memorial Foundation

25.   Laxmi Acharya Memorial Trust, Jajarkot    

26.   Martyr Bashistha Koirala (Sureshchandra) Memorial Foundation, Sindhuli

27.   Manilal Memorial Trust, Myagdi   

28.   Nandalal Koirala Memorial Trust, Gorkha

29.   Ra.Si.Pa. Memorial Foundation, Arghakhachi           

30.   Conflict Victims Women Network, Banke

31.    Shiva Prasad Bhatta Memorialization, Gorkha

32.   Martyr Jaya Bahadur Rawal Memorial Foundation, Jajarkot

33.    Martyr Tikaraj Aran Memorial Foundation, Ramechhap             

34.   Hari Bhakta Memorial Foundation, Rukum

35.   Martyrs and Disappeared Warrior Children Foundation             

36.   Martyr Dasarath Thakur Memorial Trust, Rajbiraj

37.   Bhupendra Memorial Trust Nepal  

38.   Martyr Ajablaal Yadav Memorial Trust, Dhanusha

39.   Bhupendra Smriti Pratisthan Nepal, Banke  

40.   Women for Human Rights, Single Woman Group, Surkhet

41.   Conflict Victim Society for Justice, Surkhet

42.   Bhairab Memorial Foundation, Gorkha