The government has introduced the third bill to amend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Enforced Missing Persons Inquiry Act in the House of Representatives (HoR) on Sunday.
Information and Communication Technology Minister Rekha Sharma introduced the bill on behalf of Prime Minister (PM) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who currently also oversees the Ministry of Justice.
The government has presented the bill to complete the remaining works of the peace process.
The main opposition CPN-UML objected to the fact that Minister Sharma was asked to introduce the bill despite Prime Minister Dahal attending the House meeting.
The government hastily registered the bill in the HoR by making some changes to the amendment bill introduced by the then government of Sher Bahadur Deuba after the Supreme Court (SC) recently ordered the registration of two court petitions seeking the arrest of the President and Prime Minister of the CPN (Maoist Center). (PM) Dahal’s reasoning that conflict-era cases cannot stretch out for eternity.
The newly registered bill continued with the classification of human rights violations during the conflict period into two categories made by the bill submitted by the Deuba government. But it has mainly made three changes to the previous bill.
The current law related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Investigation Commission on Enforced Disappearances, defines serious human rights violations as murder, kidnapping, rape and sexual violence, physical and mental torture, organ damage or incapacitation. , capture and robbery, vandalism. and burning of private property, forced eviction from home and land, or displacement by any other means, or any act that violates international human rights law or crimes against humanity.
But the bill presented by the Deuba government classified human rights violations into human rights violations and serious human rights violations.
Incidents of human rights violations included murder, sexual violence, physical and mental torture, kidnapping, extrajudicial custody, beatings, organ injury or disabling, capture and robbery, vandalism and burning of private or public property, forced eviction from home, and land, or displacement by any other means, and any act that violates international human rights standards.
Incidents of gross human rights violations included ruthless killings or killings through cruel torture, rape, forced disappearance of persons, and cruel or inhumane torture.
Human rights activists and legal professionals had protested the inclusion of even serious violations in the human rights violations that can be recommended for clemency when the Deuba government introduced the bill. The bill registered by the Dahal government continues the classification made by the previous bill.
The bill presented by the Deuba government also proposed the formation of a special court that would include judges from the High Court in consultation with the Judicial Council to decide cases related to human rights violations during the period of conflict. It establishes that the verdict of the special court will be final and unappealable.
It also prohibited punishment against any individual if that individual has already been punished by another court according to the laws of the land. It also instructed the special court thus formed to reduce the amount of the penalty from existing laws in cases related to the conflict period, but did not specify the proportion of the reduction.
The changes made to the bill introduced by the Dahal government include the addition of a provision to appeal to the Supreme Court (SC) against the verdict delivered by the said special court within 35 days. The verdict of the special court would be final according to the bill presented by the Deuba government.
“The Chief Justice may form a special court on transitional justice that includes three Supreme Court judges in consultation with the Judicial Council,” the Dahal government-registered bill states.
Human rights activists and victims of the conflict have been demanding such provision to appeal.
The bill introduced by the Dahal government removed the provision for the automatic suspension of any person in public office if cases were filed against the person until the conclusion of the cases that remained in the one filed by the Deuba government.
The bill presented by the Dahal government has also extended the deadline for prosecutors to present cases recommended by the CVR and the Commission of Investigation on Forced Disappeared Persons to one year from the six months provided by the bill presented by the government of Deuba.