Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Transitional [in] Justice in Nepal

As today is Blog Action Day 2013, and the theme this year is Human Rights, I thought it would be an appropriate time to write a piece about transitional justice in Nepal. All say Nepal is in political transition but none of them are clear how to end this transition. It seems political parties have not realized the gravity of human rights issues. The country which faced a decade long bloody war is yet to form an ‘independent and powerful’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Politicians and security forces, who were supposedly involved in war time crime, have been demanding blanket amnesty to all criminal cases. In this piece, I will focus on transitional justice and issue of disappearance in Nepal.

Siromani Dhungana

Nepal abolished the monarchy and become a federal democratic republic. In spite of the change in the political sphere, overall human rights situation in Nepal is yet to be improved. Political parties are far ahead in paying lip service to provide justice to victims. But they are reluctant to translate their words into action.

Communists waged war against the state when then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) openly declared that they do not follow parliamentarian system in 1996.

The ‘red revolution’ began with armed conflict, resulting in the death of more than 13,000 people in a decade — from 1996 to 2006. Besides, approximately 1,300 people were forcibly disappeared during a decade long armed conflict in this small Himalayan country.

The People’s Movement of April 2006 (also known as Jana Andolan 2) led to the reinstatement of parliament, and soon after the coalition government and the Maoists signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Two years later, Nepal abolished the monarchy and become a federal democratic republic.

In April 2006, then coalition government and the CPN (Maoist) signed Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was a significant step toward reconciliation. In CPA, both the government (seven parties alliance) and Maoist have agreed to adhere to the notion of accountability to which is basics of democracy.

But the issue of disappearance has not addressed so far.

The government tried to betray people by introducing an ordinance to set up toothless Truth and Reconciliation Commission. An executive ordinance for the establishment of an Investigation of Disappeared People, Truth and Reconciliation Commission was adopted in March 2013. According to human rights activities and victim families, the ordinate does not comply with international standards, particularly in relation to amnesties. The measure, which has been opposed by victims and other key stakeholders, is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court of Nepal.

National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing Nepal claims that more than 1,400 people were forcibly disappeared during a decade long armed conflict while other some organizations claim the figure was around 1,300.

Whatever the number is, the pain faced by innocent people during war time should not let go unpunished. During the armed conflict, dozens of innocent and gullible citizens were detained, tortured, disappeared and killed.

Why those people were forced to e disappeared? No side is ready to give the answer of this question. Families of disappeared and missing have no voice in this country. Political parties are not ready to hear their demands ignoring the clause of CPA.

The human rights issues have been politicized. The state and political parties, in the name of democracy, have diverted the agenda of the disappearance movement.

In this context, progress towards achieving justice has largely stalled, despite the continued efforts of victims and human rights defenders in Nepal.

They have refused to eat anything until action is taken against those involved in the wartime crime is punished. Disappearance movement should not let go without tangible result. Democracy is all about accountability and people has right to live in the democracy. No one has right to breach Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948. While celebrating Blog Action Day 2013, I want to remember all those who went missing during a decade long bloody war in Nepal. I strongly urge Nepalese government to abide by international human rights treaties and ensure justice to disappearance movement. I also ask the government to remember a famous saying: Justice delayed is justice denied.




3 responses to “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Transitional [in] Justice in Nepal”

  1. Dirgha Raj Prasai Avatar
    Dirgha Raj Prasai

    Great Political betrayal is the cause of crisis in Nepal. On 24, April, 2006, the uprising came to a stop after an agreement was reached between the monarchy, NC and UML and Maoist included. The agitators were pleading for monarchy as an alternative force in times of crisis. An agreement was reached to reinstate the House of Representatives, which was dissolved under NC recommendation four years ago, although the monarchy did not posses the right to reinstate it. The monarchy reinstated the parliament and appointed Girija Prasad Koirala to the post of premiership. The king himself in the royal palace premises gave the oath of office ceremony of Prime Minister. Gradually, the agreement reached with the king was broken and the royal institution attacked, which is a work of huge betrayal. A political agreement- 24 April, 2006 was a political betrayal.
    Those who used to boast the constitution of the 1990 as the best in the world have rubbed out the provisions they said were unalterable. However, no constitution is good or bad and it only depends on the people who implement it. If there was any fault in the constitution of1990, it could have been altered and amended. But the political parties are rearing to break up the country by talking about federal, autonomous and ethnic states and including them in the constitution. At a time when the whole country should have become one and come even closer together, it is paradoxical what kind of constitution those, who see the dreams of Loktantra (India-cracy) by being divided on ethnic, linguistic, religious and geographical lines, will make. Is it anything other than split up the country? Therefore those, who have already lost moral ground to rule the country, continue sticking to power and position is nothing but betrayal and treachery to the people and the country. This corrupt lot will be responsible if this country sinks and disintegrates. It is clear that they cannot manage and govern this country rather they are liable to severe punishments.

    Mainly the three bigger parties – the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Maoist – have been sucking blood of the people like the vampires by sharing power and position only amongst themselves. When Nepal is in such a dire strait India, our closest neighbors is adding more woes to our injuries. India only wants to undermine and if it can obliterate the existence of Nepal.To oppose and to try to abolish monarchy that has remained the basis of this country without making even the minimum assessment of the geography, Geo-political situation and ethnic sensitivity for so long and to try to establish a federal state based on ethnicity indicates the bad omen of the breakup of the country. The despotic leaders and Nepali Congress, UML and the Maoist party has no right to sink this country.
    No one can establish by violating agreement. All the parties including Nepali Congress, UML and Maoist should shun the path of treason and come to agreement bearing the king and in precondition that the past mistakes and illegitimacy would not be repeated. When nationality rolls down hill it is hard to contain it. It is easy to destroy but hard to create. When our norms and values end then Nepal’s existence will end. Royal Institution is the official knot that can tie Nepalese of this small nation located between two big nations. The Constituent Assembly is already expired. The political actors can’t format the constitution. The 2nd CA election is the design of India to break Nepal. So, the Ca election must be cancelled for the existence of Nepal. For the country’s stability, there must restore the 1990 constitution with monarchy. Then, in the presence of monarchy, political parties and nationalist forces including the army, police and court and various organs of the nation should active according to the 1990 constitution and form all party cabinet. From that, a path should be searched with everyone’s agreement to save the nation.
    Thank you
    Dirgha Raj Prasai

  2. […] that more than 1,400 people were forcibly disappeared during a decade long (1996-2006) civil war. Siromani Dhungana at ‘United We Blog! for a Democratic Nepal’ reports that the issue of disappearance has […]

  3. […] that more than 1,400 people were forcibly disappeared during a decade long (1996-2006) civil war. Siromani Dhungana at ‘United We Blog! for a Democratic Nepal’ reports that the issue of disappearance has […]

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