The ICJ, Amnesty International and TRIAL International on February 11 called for the Government of Nepal to commit to a transparent and consultative transitional justice process that complies with international law and the judgments of the Supreme Court of Nepal.
On February 6, the Government of Nepal extended the mandates of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission on the Investigation of Enforced Disappearance of Persons (CIEDP) for an additional year and committed to the selection of new commissioners by April 2019.
Following the announcement, the ICJ, Amnesty International and TRIAL International voiced concerns about past approach to transitional justice and urged the Government to ensure that the next two months are used to get the flawed process on track. The organisations warned that this should not become another missed opportunity to ensure that victims are provided justice, truth and reparation that they so desperately seek.
“A further one-year extension will be meaningless if measures are not taken to secure the independence and impartiality of the commissions,” said Frederick Rawski, ICJ Asia Pacific Director. “This can only be achieved through a transparent selection process driven by a genuine will to combat impunity – not just for conflict victims, but for future generations.”
The three organisations reiterated their view that the process to date has failed to deliver justice, truth or reparation for victims of crimes under international law and gross human rights violations or establish laws and institutional safeguards to ensure that such crimes are never repeated. The organisations underscored the need for independent, competent and impartial commissions, compliance with international law, and the meaningful participation of conflict victims, civil society and National Human Rights Commission in the design and implementation of the process.
“This is a great opportunity for Nepal to learn from its past, as well as experiences from other post-conflict societies, that the credibility of transitional justice process ultimately lies on the integrity, competence, independence and expertise of the commissioners. The independence of the Commission, together with a legal framework in accordance with international law, will make or break the success of the commitment to guarantee justice, truth and reparation,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director of Amnesty International. “The process for appointing new commissioners must be transparent and open to public scrutiny. Victims and civil society must have a robust opportunity to propose and vet candidates.”