20 APRIL 2014 KATHMANDU, Nepal – Political Parties of Nepal who vows long for Truth and Reconciliation bill has clarify that there is no such provision in the drafted bill which directly permit amnesty to the criminals.
Amid criticism from some victims’ groups and rights organisations over a provision of amnesty , political leaders involved in the drafting committee of the crucial bill on transitional justice mechanism have said there is no provision of amnesty in the proposed bill and it should be endorsed with necessary amendments to ensure justice to conflict victims.
Ramesh Lekhak, a Nepal Congress representative on the bill drafting task force, said there is no provision of general amnesty in the bill, but that the commission can exercise its discretion to decide on the case.
“Instead of making assumptions about the commission to be formed, it would be better to suggest ways for the commission to function effectively,” he said, speaking at a program on Saturday.
The parliament is scheduled to start deliberation on the crucial bill on Sunday—four days behind schedule—after the main opposition UCPN (Maoist) disrupted the House proceedings in protest of the arrest of its cadres in connection with a war-era case. The government tabled the reviewed bill in the parliament on April 9.
Pradip Gyawali, CPN-UML representative to finalize the bill, said the delay will further complicate the issue while depriving the victims of justice.
“Instead of disrupting the process, the bill should be amended as required to resolve the outstanding task of the peace process,” said Gyawali. He suggested the incidents of disappearance should be criminalized and guarantee serious cases of human rights do not get pardoned.
The reviewed bill, drafted by a government task force, was finalized by representatives of the three main political parties—Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist)—that envisages two separate commissions of inquiry on truth and reconciliation and enforced disappearances.
The bill has prohibited amnesty in rape and serious crimes that lack sufficient reasons and grounds for amnesty following the investigation of the commission.
Rights activists, however, argue the provision that the commission should not be given discretionary power to decide cases of serious human rights violations. Instead it should be spelled out in the law.
Bed Prasad Bhattarai, acting secretary at the National Human Rights Commission, said the provision of amnesty should be amended, which
is against the recommendation of the commission. “Victim-centric justice system is a must for a lasting peace,” he said.
ICTJ concerned over proposed bill
The International Center for Transitional Justice has expressed ‘deep concern’ over the provisions of the bill on transitional justice mechanism tabled in the parliament. The ICTJ has said the bill retains flaws already rejected by the Supreme Court in January.
Issuing a statement on Saturday, the New York-based organisation specializing in the field of transitional justice, has urged Nepal government to amend the draft law in line with the SC order. “The parliament discussion is still an opportunity to amend the bill in order to create two strong, independent commissions,” said David Tolbert, the ICTJ president. “Retaining the problematic provisions in the bill only serves to once again stall a process that has already seen extensive delays.”
The ICTJ has suggested amendments relating to provisions of amnesty and enforced disappearances. It has insisted that perpetrators of serious violations of human rights should not be granted amnesty.
According to the bill tabled yesterday, if the committee think or may be influenced by some means, may those criminals get amnesty as it has happened in many occasions in the past. Political status, bail, nonconformity of direct involvement are the key factors which will play role in the implementation phase of the law.