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Two views

Monday, April 14th, 2014

An editorial in Kantipur and an op-ed in Annapurna Post looking at the two sides of the government’s bill tabled in parliament on We dnesday for the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on Enforced Disappearances.

Reconciling us

Editorial, Kantipur, 13 April

The government and the Maoists had signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006 which paved way for the Interim Constitution and Constituent Assembly election. We cannot overlook this political reality and examine conflict era cases only
under the existing laws. This will never lead to a solution.

The decade long conflict killed thousands of Nepalis and left an irreparable legacy of violence, for which the Maoists’ decision to take up arms can never be justified. Perpetrators from both sides of the conflict cannot be pardoned for their involvement in serious criminal offences. But when it comes to other excesses that may have taken during the conflict, reconciliation after finding the truth is the only way out.

The objectives of the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission are to investigate grave conflict era cases, take action against those involved in those crimes and create a conducive environment for reconciliation for the remaining cases. Thousands of Nepalis lost their lives in the conflict and while the degree of loss might vary from one case to another, everyone should focus their attention towards healing the wounds of the war. The TRC shouldn’t and cannot have any provision for blanket amnesty, but can have a provision to forgive the perpetrators with the approval of the victims.

The country needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission now. Instead of preventing the formation of the commission everyone should focus their attention towards making it more effective. And it would be best if all the discussion takes place at the elected parliament.
Risky truths

Charan Prasai in Annapurna Post, 13 April

If perpetrators of conflict era atrocities are allowed to go scot free due to political pressure and victims are denied justice in the name of reconciliation, the country might get mired in another war. In the absence of justice, victims might be forced take the law into their own hands. And since in most cases the perpetrators are known, they will be at higher risk. There is a high chance that the country’s peace process might derail and the country might never be able to prevent another conflagration ignited by the lack of justice.

If the political parties agree on forming a commission by favouring the perpetrators, it will not lead to reconciliation. A commission that only has provisions for truth and reconciliation goes against international law and will make the successful completion of the peace process all the more difficult. If the commission is formed on the basis of this bill then it won’t be accepted globally by the UN and the larger international community. The country’s judicial system, the victims and all concerned parties will not accept such a commission.

Long term peace cannot be achieved by overlooking the victims’ grievances and their demand for justice. It will weaken the building blocks of rule of law and democracy. So it is now for the political leadership of the country to open their eyes to the future consequences that this bill might invite.

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