Holes galore on ordinance on disappearances, BY KAMAL RAJ SIGDEL

KATHMANDU, Feb 29 - With the winter session beginning on Sunday, the country awaits curiously the fate of some key ordinances. Ordinance on disappearances that came into effect from Jan. 1 is one of them.
Rights activists claim that if the Parliament approves the ordinance without radical amendment, it would give birth to a Commission full of serious faults; and if it is rejected, it would also be a disaster in that Nepal's first appreciable effort towards ending the culture of impunity would be sabotaged. In either case, the victims stand to lose.
"The ordinance is silent on the process governing commissioners' selection. This indicates that the commission will retain political colour," says constitutional lawyer Govinda Sharma Bandi.
The government's team comprises Maoist leader Padam Lal BK, Padma Ratna Tuladhar, a facilitator trusted by the Maoists during the talks prior to the peace agreement, and Raman Shrestha, an advocate who is said to be a vocal supporter of the Maoists.
"One can imagine what type of commissioners these people will select," says Parsuram Koirala, a family member of those disappeared during the armed conflict. But the government sources say the ordinance has incorporated rights bodies' inputs.
Interestingly, the ordinance states in its Article 26 that "a complaint shall have to be lodged within six months of the promulgation of this ordinance."
This means the victims have missed three months uninformed of the deadline as there has been no public announcement whatsoever.
Article 6 has a provision for "imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and with a fine not exceeding Rs 300,000," which, experts say, is too little and the word "not exceeding" indicates that the punishment could be as minimum as one year jail-term or one rupee fine. (Published

on: The Kathmandu Post, 2009-03-29 02:44:48, Server Time)

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