close-icon

Dahal government faces global pressure to right war-era wrongs

Pratik Ghimire

Pratik Ghimire

Dahal government faces global pressure to right war-era wrongs

It remains to be seen whether this zeal shown by the government will bring about positive changes

With the formation of a new government under Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the international community has started showing concerns about conflict-era rights abuses. On January 12, Human Rights Watch, a rights body, came up with a statement urging the Dahal-led government to amend the transitional justice bill.   

A new transitional justice bill, to address abuses committed during Nepal’s 1996-2006 civil war, was presented to the parliament in August 2022, HRW says, adding: The bill, despite significant flaws, had raised hope among the victims and their families, who have waited over 16 years for justice.

The flaws include wording that makes it possible to grant amnesty for certain gross violations of human rights, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, the statement said. In addition, verdicts from a new special court would not be subject to judicial appeal, in violation of international fair trial guarantees. The bill was neither amended nor brought to a vote before parliament was dissolved ahead of November elections, according to the statement.

Speaking with media persons on Jan 12, American Ambassador to Nepal Dean R Thompson said that the international community is keenly interested to see progress in transitional justice. “This is definitely something that I talk about with my colleagues in the international community. I hope we can see progress,” he had said: “Ruling parties in their Common Minimum Program have pledged to conclude the transitional justice process.” 

Transitional justice mechanism—Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons—are without heads and other officer-bearers. The international community, however, has not cooperated with the commissions.

The bottom-line of the international community is that there should be appointment in both commissions only after the amendment of laws in line with the Supreme Court verdict 2015, said former Chair of Truth and Reconciliation Commission.