A meeting of the Accountability Watch Committee meeting today has declared that it is essential to amend several provisions of the bill presently before the Legislature Parliament relating to Commission Investigating Missing Persons as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The meeting, chaired by AWC Chair Sushil Pyakurel, expressed its support for the changes in the bill proposed recently by conflict victims before Speaker Subhas Chandra Nembang, as well as to for amendments in the bill proposed by the Nepal Bar Association. Further, the AWC demands that the following amendments be included without fail in the bill that is in discussion in the Legislature Parliament.
The provisions to be amended:
- The reference in the title to ‘missing’ persons (bepatta bhaeka) should be changed to read ‘forcibly disappeared’ (bepatta parieka).
- There has to a provision declaring murder, rape, torture and forcible disappearance as not being eligible for reconciliation or pardon.
- For the sake of independence of the proposed commissions, the following must be ensured: the appointment of secretary should be done within the authority of the commissions; the commissions should be able to raise material support for their work independently; the appointment of the commissioners should be done transparently and publicly, and not be made subject to political horse-trading.
- The different spheres of work, responsibilities and rights of the two commissions should be clearly spelt out, as should the coordination between the two commissions.
- There should be provisions that criminalise under law the act of enforced disappearance as well as mental and physical torture.
- There should be clear legal procedures set out for prosecution of those involved in heinous crimes.
- There should be provisions for reparation and compensation for victims.
- On cases where there can be reconciliation, there should be provision for victims to independently take decisions on the basis of informed consent.
- In the instances of capture or confiscation of property, the responsible party (individual or organization) must be made to provide adequate compensation in addition to returning the property.
If the bill presently in the House is not amended according to these demands, the AWC believes the law that is promulgated will be against international standards as well as the Supreme Court verdict of 2 January 2014. As the transitional justice mechanism made under such a law will not be able to provide justice to the victims of conflict, we declare that such a law will not be acceptable to the victim community, not to the human rights community and broader civil society.