26 APRIL, 2014 KATHMANDU – Eight years in waiting, Much criticized and most needed Truth and Reconciliation Commission Bill which was promised by then Maoist and the government to form the committee within the first six month of the peace deal signed back in 2006, finally gets its way out yesterday.
The much awaited Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) bill was approved by a majority of the Legislature-Parliament on Friday evening paving the way for the formation of two separate commissions on truth, reconciliation and disappearances.
The endorsement of the bill turns an important page in the seven years of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that envisioned a TRC within six months. The bill has undergone some amendments as sought by the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the UCPN (Maoist) parties.
As a result, a special court has been provisioned to deal with conflict related cases. The bill requires the government attorney to file cases forwarded by the TRC. It also mandates reparations for victims or their families as per their priorities.
The bill has “enforced disappearances” instead of “missing persons” in the text but not in the title. The amended law states that if the TRC is to recommend pardon for perpetrators then it has to inquire about the approval or disapproval of victims besides considering the seriousness of the case under discussion. The bill wants the TRC to recommend to the government adequate compensation for properties seized
during the conflict. Complaints filed with various state agencies regarding conflict-related incidents will be dealt by the TRC.
“We have addressed the amendment proposals that enrich the content of the bill,” said Law Minister Narahari Acharya who tabled the bill in Parliament. Twenty-six lawmakers had registered their amendment proposals on the bill. But eight from the UML had withdrawn them on Thursday while nine lawmakers took them back on Friday.
Lawmakers from Madhes-centric and Janajati parties withdrew their proposals after the government pledged to form a separate commission within 60 days to recommend implementation of the accords reached with various armed groups between the signing of the CPA in 2006 and the CA election in 2013.
Addressing Parliament, NC lawmaker Gagan Thapa, who had also filed a joint amendment proposal demanding that any pardoning by victims be an informed decision, remarked that no serious crime should be pardoned. Thapa, however, withdrew his proposal citing the whip issued by his party.
The bill, however, did not witness any change to the reconciliation process to be initiated by the TRC which rights activists say is “forced reconciliation”. The TRC bill had been a major bone of contention as the opposition Maoist party obstructed House proceedings several times demanding that all conflict related cases be dealt by the TRC and that no piecemeal approach be adopted in dealing with such cases.
The bill was brought by the government following the January verdict of the Supreme Court that called for formation of two separate commissions of inquiry. Following the verdict, the government had formed two teams headed by bureaucrats to prepare the draft. It was reviewed by a six-member political team before being tabled in parliament.
It still have lots of loop holes in the act as it should eradicate the current situation of mistrust, uncertainty and political deadlock. Some analyst says this bill also would be the one as “Mallik Aayog” and other bills passed in the past to solve the similar cased in the history of political Nepal.
Whatever the outcome to be, let’s hope for better society where all Nepalese can live and practice their life side by side in peace and harmony, this is what much needed today in Nepal.
Source: KOL/ Agencies.