23-29 September 2016 #827


Official list of people who were disappeared by both sides during the conflict from 1996-2006
Om Astha Rai

A decade after the end of the conflict in Nepal, the perpetrators of war crimes want to bury the truth while the families of victims are still trying to dig it out.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal commanded the Maoist militia and is charged with wartime excesses. His coalition partner Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress used to be prime minister for most of the war years and allowed human rights violations.

Neither Dahal and Deuba now want to rake up the past. The former enemies have ensured that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission for the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) have weak mandates.

If it wasn’t for a Supreme Court verdict, there would probably have been a law by now granting blanket amnesty and pardons for war crimes.

The CIEDP drafted a law last year to to criminalise enforced disappearances, but the government ignored it. Without a strong law, even if thePerpetrators of war crimes real truth about what happened to the disappeared comes out, no action can be taken against perpetrators.

“The truth is what we want, but we also want the guilty punished,” says Bhagi Ram Chaudhary of the National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing Nepal. Chaudhary is from Bardiya which saw 258 of the 1,334 in a list of the disappeared prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

His brother and sister-in-law were disappeared by the Army during the Deuba government in 2001. “We want the truth about what happened to them so we can perform their final rites,” says Chaudhary. 

The CIEDP’s Bishnu Pathak says his agency cannot do much with its limited mandate, time and resources. But the families of the disappeared say money is not the issue, it is the lack of political will.

Says Chaudhary: “The Commisison is not free and impartial. It is merely a political tool to protect Dahal, Deuba and their partners in crime.”

Read also:

Just justifying war crimes, Damakant Jayshi

Diappearance of truth, Ram Kumar Bhandari

Where justice is a game, Anurag Acharya

History will not forgive Bhattarai, Anurag Acharya

Tracking the disappeared, Marty Logan