Transitional justice unlocked in Nepal
Nepal’s parliament finally passed a bill on Friday, 25 April, seven years after it was due, that sets in motion the formation of two separate commissions – on Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) and on Investigation of Missing Persons. At the signing of the peace agreement that had ended, in 2006, a decade-long armed Maoist insurgency in the country that claimed nearly 16,000 lives and 1,300 missing persons, a TRC was envisaged within six months.
The bill has undergone major amendments, sought by the main political parties. They proposed the creation of a special court, that will deal with conflict related cases forwarded to the government attorney by the TRC, which received a mandate “to make reconciliation between the perpetrator and victim, to recommend reparations for victims and to recommend for legal action against those involved in serious crimes.”
“The passage of this bill, which came about after a lot of debate and preparation, is an important milestone in Nepal’s peace process,” says Ram Narayan Bidari, leader of major opposition party Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The full package of post-conflict measures has included the integration of then rebel Maoist’s army – People’s Liberation Army – into the national army, and the drafting of a new constitution. “The bill has given a much needed impetus to the delayed peace process”, says Bidari.