Prime Minister and Maoist party leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is in trouble for his self-incriminating speech three years ago, where he claimed responsibility for 5,000 lives lost during a decade-long insurgency.
Advocates Kalyan Budhathoki and Gyanendra Aaran on Tuesday filed separate petitions at the Supreme Court demanding legal action against Dahal.
“We are registering this case to bring to justice the people responsible for the atrocities and injustices committed against civilians during the conflict period,” said Budhathoki.
Aaran added they were compelled to knock on the door of the Supreme Court after their repeated calls to address the flaws seen in the transitional justice process went unheard.
“We have filed the case on behalf of a handful of conflict-affected families, but in reality we are representing the families of 5,500 people killed at the hands of Maoist insurgents.”
Hearing on the case has been scheduled for Thursday.
“Prachanda is not free to kill, nor order others to kill,” read one of the petitions. “His public proclamation of taking 5,000 lives is unlawful, so he must be arrested and prosecuted as per existing law.”
Maoists on the defense
The case against Prime Minister Dahal has rattled CPN (Maoist Center) and its breakaway parties. They issued a joint statement on Tuesday, saying they stand against any activity in contravention of the Comprehensive Peace Accord.
“Matters related to transitional justice must be taken through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Any act that goes against the transitional justice process will not help in the implementation of the peace accord,” reads the statement.
The statement was signed by the Maoist Center, Nepal Samajbadi Party, NCP (Revolutionary Maoist), Nepal Communist Party, CPN (Majority), Scientific Socialist Communist Party, CPN (Maoist Socialist), and Maoist Communist Party Nepal.
National rights body concerned
The National Human Rights Commission also issued a statement on Tuesday, calling on the government, political parties and other stakeholders to conclude the transitional justice process at the earliest. It asked all concerned parties to amend the transitional justice laws in accordance with international standards, and as instructed by the Supreme Court.
The national rights body also raised concerns over the objections raised by some political parties concerning the case filed by the conflict victims in the apex court.
“Though transitional justice has a different set of rules and procedures, it is still unjust to bar conflict victims from gaining access to the court of law for justice,” said the statement.
The commission said it is worrisome that Nepal’s transitional justice has not concluded even more than 16 years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord.