Nepal


    Opinion: Confronting transitional justice in Nepal
    07.11.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In Nepal, former parliamentarian and prominent Maoist leader Bal Krishna Dhungel was arrested on October 31, 2017 in Kathmandu and sent to jail. He had been found guilty in 2004 of killing Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of Okhaldhunga district, in the eastern hills of Nepal in 1998, at the beginning of the Maoist “Peoples’ War”. In 2004 the District Court convicted Dhungel of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with confiscation of property, but the Appeals Court cleared him in 2006. In 2010, the Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court decision and upheld the District Court’s 2004 verdict....

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    Nepal: "I have been naming the people responsible for my father’s disappearance"
    19.10.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The conflicting parties’ alliance (Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre) to share power in the government has destroyed the norms of justice and the agenda set by the Peoples’ Movement. They abused their authority without addressing conflict survivors’ key demands for truth and social justice. When the top level leaders from both sides of the conflict built an alliance with security forces to forget about past abuses, compromising standards for their mutual benefit and position, the hope for fair trials and justice has become a distance one for ordinary citizens. Instead of creating hope...

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    In Nepal Transitional justice in crisis
    27.09.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    How can Truth Commissions function properly in a place like Nepal where alleged perpetrators set the agenda and control the commissioners in a situation of continuing insecurity where both victims and witnesses cannot speak out openly? The situation now, 11 years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), is more complex and dangerous than the end of conflict in 2006. Security forces (both Nepal Army and Nepal Police) are becoming more powerful, and have almost destroyed evidence about past violations held in government offices. They intervene in every process, including blocking...

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    Disappeared in Nepal : The survivors'unanswered questions
    29.08.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Every year, as part of the global movement against enforced disappearances, we commemorate the International Day Against Enforced Disappearance. On this day, we, raise up the voices of families affected by enforced disappearance, express solidarity with the struggle for justice worldwide, and remember our beloved family members who were forcibly taken away from their communities and never seen again.  From 1996-2006, Nepal endured a civil war in which hundreds of citizens were forcibly disappeared by state forces and the Maoist rebels. It is a human tragedy to live in a state of...

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    Nepal’s Transitional Justice mechanism "a road to nowhere"
    24.07.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The existing transitional justice (TJ) system in Nepal fails to open avenues for social justice as it is envisioned and demanded at the local level. Rather, the current system promotes a gap between the mainstream (i.e. the State) and the margins (i.e. the victims). Such a gap has brought about a polarized line of thinking in which the voices of the margins have been further marginalized and hijacked by the powerful. The State’s mechanisms and the so-called civil society groups, backed by donors, cannot provide a satisfactory solution to the truth-seeking and justice debate or provide real...

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    Nepal: Transitional uncertainty
    19.06.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Over the past two decades, Nepal has suffered greatly, seeing minimal progress on social transformation, transitional justice, criminal accountability, and access to justice. The cyclical nature of Nepali politics and lack of progress has placed the transformative agenda squarely in the hands of few elites who have full control of the state apparatus. The return of Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister (the 25th in the past 27 years, after 1990s Peoples movement) clearly shows the instability of the Nepali state. On June 6th, 2017, Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected Prime Minister of Nepal...

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    Nepal : Politicisation of the supreme court and its impact on justice process in transition
    23.05.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The first women chief justice of the Supreme Court, Shushila Karki, was an independent and strong chief justice who was against the political influence or unwanted interference in judiciary. She has challenged the powerholders through judicial process openly such as declared chief of Commission on Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Nepal anti-corruption body, Lokman Singh Karki an incompetent in her verdict, who was appointed by then government in a ‘political consensus’. On 30 April, Justice Karki made a verdict to prosecute three former Chiefs of Nepal police on corruption charges....

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    Transitional injustice in Nepal
    24.04.17
    Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, PhD President, INHURED International

    The Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) of 2006 ended a decade of armed conflict in Nepal between the State security forces and the CPN (Maoist). With the end of the conflict that caused more than 13,000 deaths, 1,000 disappearances, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and victimized many others through torture and other human rights violations by both sides,[1] the Peace Accord spoke of a ‘new Nepal’ promising a set of transitional mechanisms to take forward political, social and economic transformation with an acknowledgement that it is necessary to address past violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. [2]   As the government introduced an Ordinance in 2013...

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    Nepal : when does conflict finish for conflict survivors?
    24.04.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On April 13th, 2017 The Supreme Court of Nepal issued an arrest warrant for Balkrishna Dhungel, a Maoist leader and former parliamentarian, who was convicted of a murder that took place during the Nepal’s Armed Conflict. Supreme Court Justice Anand Mohan Bhattarai said “If the government agencies keep silent when the judiciary receive threats and intimidation from convicted perpetrators, the judges and the court will lose the credibility” in the direction to the government. Seven years ago Dhungel was sentenced to life in prison when he was then a member of first constituent assembly....

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    Nepal : for an alternative route to resist global transitional justice
    15.03.17
    Ram Bhandari

    “When I see the role of NGOs, human rights groups and politics, I think transitional justice is rather an experimental laboratory of various actors, where suffering families’ continue to wait for justice and gain nothing from the false process of political reconciliation and instrumentalisation of interest groups who dominate the victim’s needs and realities in the ground.” says Bhagiram Chaudhary, the district-based victim’s advocate who has been speaking for fellow victims in the Nepal’s countryside for many years.   10 years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement...

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    Nepal: the Transitional Justice Commissions and Victims’ Critical Engagement
    16.02.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Transitional justice has been a stated priority throughout Nepal’s peace process following the end of the ‘People’s War’ in 2006, but it took nearly 10 years before the two truth commissions (Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC and Commission for Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons CIEDP) investigating war-era crimes were established. While these processes have enjoyed nominal support, the Nepali government never prioritized transitional justice in its national agenda, and the Commissions have not been prevented from fulfilling their mandates. The stalled transitional justice process has eroded trust between victims advocacy groups and the two Commissions. While the...

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    Transitional Justice in Nepal : Road to Justice or collapse ?
    06.01.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In February 2017, Nepal’s transitional justice commissions will finish their two year mandate. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission for the Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), were established in February 2015 eight years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed ending the 10 year ‘Peoples War’. The TRC and CIEDP were given a two year mandate to deal with the past human rights violations of armed conflict (1996-2006). The TRC and CIEDP were mandated with the investigation of conflict era cases. They are also mandated to recommend that the Government of Nepal provide reparations to conflict victims, prosecute the guilty and...

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    Nepal : NGOs became neo-liberal business
    07.12.16
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On December 10th the World will celebrate universal human rights day. The occasion will be recognized in Nepal, but unfortunately democratization and human rights have become more buzzword than practice. The policies that have been implemented since the end of the People’s War have done more to protect powerful interests and hide the truth in the name of human rights than ensure those rights for the economically and politically marginalized. Instead human rights serve as an agent of global capitalism that produces capitalist agents to intervene and destroy the peoples rights movement. It is seen that the human rights movement is becoming a part of problem because of its universalistic...

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    Week in Review: Looking back in Nepal and Bosnia, ICC trying to look forward
    28.11.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    It was once again a week of contrasts for transitional justice, notably in Cambodia, The Hague, South Sudan, Bosnia and Nepal, reflecting how paths to national reconciliation and their difficulties differ from country to country. Towards the end of the week, Colombia also got a revised, still controversial peace deal, which will this time be put to parliament, rather than directly to the people. Nepal, which has been marking 10 years since the end of a cruel civil war and is sometimes seen as a model, continues to struggle on the path to peace, writes Ram Kumar Bhandari, founder of an...

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    Transitional justice failing in Nepal 10 years after peace deal
    23.11.16
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal is this week marking the 10th anniversary of its comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) that ended the decade-long armed conflict (1996-2006) and shaped a peaceful orientation towards a new democratic Nepal. But the legacy of violent conflict remains unaddressed and the transitional justice process is on the verge of collapse without delivering positive results. Nepal's politics is top-down and unrepresentative, with no accountability or responsibility to the people. The culture of impunity is deeply-rooted within a political culture that allows the interests of rulers at the centre...

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    Nepal’s Botched Truth and Reconciliation Process

    In June 2005, a bus carrying 150 people left Madi, a village on the edge of the Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, and headed toward Narayangadh. Eight kilometers into the journey, Krishna Adhikari hailed and boarded the bus. The bus had traveled for less than fifteen minutes when an explosion ripped through its body on the dry bed of the Badarmudhe River. Maoist rebels had triggered a bomb from 200 meters away. Adhikari remembers his ears ringing from the force of the blow. He lost consciousness and woke up in Chhauni Hospital in the capital Kathmandu the next day. His friends showed...

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    The Disappeared and the Struggle of Justice in Nepal

    August 30th marks the International Day of the Disappeared, an opportunity for the world to remember those missing and disappeared during conflict. In Nepal there is little discussion about the more than 1,500 Nepalese who disappeared during the ‘People’s War’ (1996-2006). Who were they? Why were they forcibly disappeared? Where are they now? Their relatives still wait for answers, living in a state of protracted ambiguity and anguish. They live with the memory of their missing loved ones, grieving their loss while holding out hope that their search will not be in vain.  These challenges...

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    Decade after Nepal peace pact, war crimes finally probed
    24.06.16
    AFP

    A handful of faded photographs has long been Suntali Rasaili's only treasured momento of her teenage daughter, allegedly executed by Nepali soldiers at the height of the Maoist insurgency. But a decade after Maoist rebels signed a peace pact, families of victims are also hoping for justice, as Nepal prepares this month to start investigations into crimes committed during the conflict. Rasaili is among thousands filing complaints with two commissions, one of which is headed by a high-ranking judge and the other by a senior parliamentary official. The commissions have a two-year term and were set up to probe murders, rapes, forced disappearances and other atrocities. "I feel like I won't...

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    Rights groups slam Nepal deal on war crimes amnesty
    13.05.16
    AFP

    Human rights groups on Friday slammed a deal between Nepal's ruling parties to withdraw civil war cases from courts and offer amnesty to people accused of abuses during the country's decade-long Maoist insurgency. Former Maoist rebels and security forces have been accused of carrying out torture, killings, rapes and "forced disappearances" during the conflict, which ended in 2006 leaving more than 16,000 dead. The ruling Communist Party (Unified Marxist Leninist) of Nepal and its coalition partner, the Maoists, last week signed an agreement paving the way for war crimes cases to be withdrawn or pardoned. In a joint statement, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the...

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    Opinion : The right to truth

    “Let's not be afraid to be left alone if it's for the sake of the truth…" stated Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador, who was killed on 24th March 1980 in his struggle on searching for truth. The  United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted this date to mark the day as international day of right to truth in respect of his struggle and in respect of all the struggles worldwide for the victims and their dignity. March 24th marks the 6th annual International Day for the Right to Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. The UNGA proclaimed this day in...

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