Nepal Today

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL MEETS THURSDAY Kathmandu, 21 March: Constitutional council chaired by Khil Raj Regmi head of interim election council, a post equivalent to prime minister, meets Thirsday Thursday to appoint chiefs of constitutional bodies and members. The council meets after all council members were appointed by ‘amending’ the constitution by doing away with a provision for parliamentary hearings of nominees. Immediate government priority is to nominate chief election commissioner and commissioners to conduct second constituent assembly elections in June. A high-level body of four political forces has recommended names of chief commissioners and commissioners. to be appointed by government. The government of retired civil servants has been called ’a puppet’ of for Big Three and five Madeshbadi parties even they are out of government. Nnnn OHCHR UNHAPPY WITH TRC FORMATION Kathmandu, 21 March: The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Wednesday expressed serious concerns over the passing of an Ordinance to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with power to recommend amnesties for serious human rights violations, The Kathmandu Post reports. In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has ‘strongly’ urged the government to rectify the provisions which would contravene international standards. “Such amnesties would not only violate core principles under international law but would also weaken the foundation for a genuine and lasting peace in Nepal,” Pillay said. The Commission on Investigation of Disappeared persons, Truth and Reconciliation Ordinance was passed last week to establish a Commission to investigate human rights violations during the conflict. The parties had agreed to establish such a commission seven years ago while signing the Comprehensive Peace Accord. Article 23 of the Ordinance has a provision of amnesty that states ‘the Commission may, if deemed reasonable for granting amnesty to perpetrator, make recommendation to the Government of Nepal explaining sufficient grounds and reasons thereof.’ “An amnesty for those who committed serious human rights violations will deny the right of thousands of Nepali to truth and justice. This will not provide a sustainable road to peace,” Pillay said. “I am particularly disturbed that the text of the Ordinance was developed and passed in such a secretive manner, without consultations with civil society, victims, families of the victims or even the national human rights institutions,” the High Commissioner said. “Past experiences elsewhere in the world have shown that without the active involvement and support of these key affected groups, mechanisms of this type may lead to further divisions and disagreements, so producing the opposite result to that intended.” Noting that the Commission will also have the power to conduct reconciliation processes without the consent of the parties involved, the High Commissioner said, “You cannot, and should not, force people to reconcile. Reconciliation, by its nature, is a voluntary act.” In October 2012, the High Commissioner released the Nepal Conflict Report, a landmark report documenting and analysing around 9,000 serious violations of international law that occurred during the ten-year conflict. The report underscored Nepal’s obligation to ensure the prompt, thorough, impartial criminal investigation of gross violations of international human rights law, and the prosecution of those found responsible. “I am also concerned that the Ordinance may be used to avoid or delay criminal investigations and prosecutions of conflict-related cases. Criminal justice should be reinforced, not replaced by other transitional justice processes such as truth and reconciliation commissions,” Pillay said. She also stressed that the UN rights body stands ready to provide support and advice to the Government of Nepal to amend the Ordinance so that it complies with international laws and principles. nnnn


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