Nepal


    Opinion : transitional justice amendment in Nepal not "acceptable" , according to victims
    22.06.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The government of Nepal is preparing to register a new bill of controversial and highly contested transitional justice act in the parliament after 3 and half years of two transitional bodies formed in February 2015. In a historic verdicts of Supreme Court (26 February 2015) on behalf of conflict victims legal petitions against flaws in the previous Act (the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2014), government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Disappeared Commission to investigate war era (1996-2006) crimes without...

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    Opinion : in Nepal, impunity for perpetrators
    30.05.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On the Republican day on 29 May 2018, government released a criminally convicted former parliamentarian and ex-Maoist leader Balkrishna Dhungel from jail, who was arrested by Supreme Court order in October 2017 and other 815 convicted persons across the country. Former lawmaker Dhungel was recommended for pardon by the cabinet, which said that he had served 40 percent of his sentence, and fulfilled the criteria for presidential pardon as per the article (276) of the constitution. Upon release on the Republican day in the capital, Dhungel slammed rights activists and lawyers who...

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    Opinion : Nepali war victims demand real reparations and remembrance
    13.05.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In Nepal, the Conflict Victim Common Platform (CVCP) has submitted an advocacy paper on “reparative needs, rights and demands” to the Justice Minister and the country's two transitional justice bodies, in the hope of creating momentum for a national policy of reparation. Victims are urging the government to address their needs through urgent support in terms of livelihoods, health, education, employment, remembrance and recognition, based on prior consultations with victims of the civil war.  CVCP has demanded that the government declare a “national remembrance day” in memory of the...

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    Pressure needed to save transitional justice in Nepal
    15.04.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s government and security forces have been obstructing the country’s transitional justice (TJ) process and threatening human rights activists. But now they say they are ready to address victims’ demands and amend TJ legislation. This is a crucial phase of the process, requiring joint national and international pressure on the authorities to ensure that the voices of thousands of civil war victims are heard.  Existing transitional justice mechanisms are failing to listen to victims’ voices and seem loyal to the government. They have a very limited legal mandate to fully investigate the...

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    Hope for Nepal’s flawed transitional justice?
    20.03.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s Commission on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) and victims’ group NEFAD have agreed a common platform, including action on ratifying international instruments on enforced disappearances, effective victims’ protection, integral support to families for their livelihood, security and memorialization, and introducing legal protection for the future by framing a disappearance law soon. This offers some hope for the country’s flawed transitional justice (TJ) process.  After three years of failed implementation and no results, the mandates of the two TJ commissions – the CIEDP and the...

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    Opinion: Nepal’s victims want real results from transitional justice
    15.02.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The one-year extensions of Nepal’s two transitional justice mechanisms without necessary legal and institutional reforms ordered by the Supreme Court and the United Nations are insufficient to comply with international standards, international human rights groups said this week. Conflict victims have welcomed the extensions, but remain dissatisfied with the commissions. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists also said that “despite flaws in the law, and questions of legitimacy and capacity, victims and their families have given the benefit of...

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    Nepal's TJ commissions need political will, not just more time
    15.01.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On January 5, 2018, Nepal’s cabinet decided to extend the tenure of the country’s two transitional justice (TJ) bodies for another year. But this was done without consulting primary stakeholders and without evaluating the work of the commissions over the last three years. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) were set up in February 2015 with an initial two- year mandate and a one-year extension to complete the assigned tasks. However, in three years both commissions failed to deliver satisfactory results. They...

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    Nepal: Publish Commission Report on Terai Violence, says HRW
    21.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

     Authorities in Nepal should immediately make public the December 14, 2017 report of a special commission on the Terai violence in 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. The High-Level Inquiry Commission was established in 2016 to investigate alleged excessive and indiscriminate use of force during violent protests that left at least 45 people dead, including nine police officers. While the commission officially handed its report to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, the government has not indicated next steps based on the report’s findings and its recommendations. The victims of the...

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    Opinion: More justice needed for war victims in Nepal
    07.12.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s political elites hail the country’s transition from civil war as a success. But commissions for Truth and Reconciliation and on Enforced Disappeared Persons are not independent, and have not so far done their job. Many cases of civil war abuses filed before both national courts and UN bodies have not been adequately followed up, and victims are still waiting for justice.  On this Human Rights Day (December 10), let us call on all political actors in Nepal to respect victims’ right to truth, access to justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition for a peaceful future.The...

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    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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