Nepal forms commissions to probe war crimes

Nepal forms commissions to probe war crimes

[JURIST] Nepal created two commissions Tuesday to investigate allegations of war crimes and disappearances that occurred during the nation’s 10-year civil war, said Nepali Law Minister Narahari Acharya [official profile]. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will investigate [Reuters report] abuses committed during the conflict, and the Commission on Enforced Disappearances will investigate the disappearances of more than 1,300 people still missing after the conflict ended in 2006. This agreement by the coalition government to address the war-time accusations comes just two weeks after Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] expressed its concern [press release] regarding the government’s delay in the formation of the long-desired commissions. The commissions will start their investigations within six months of their creation and will operate on two-year tenure.

Nepal’s treatment of human rights issues has been a controversial topic in the wake of the civil war [Insight on Conflict backgrounder] that ended eight years ago and left more than 13,000 dead. Pushes for war crime amnesty have been ongoing and perpetually controversial. Last April Nepalese lawmakers passed legislation [JURIST report] that could grant amnesty to former Maoist rebels and security forces accused of committing various war crimes, including torture and murder, during the nation’s civil war. The bill established two bodies for addressing the alleged commission of war crimes: a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission on the Disappeared, but neither had actually created until now. Earlier that month, several human rights groups urged [JURIST report] the Nepalese government to reject the aforementioned amnesty legislation, stating that it would contravene international law based on its inclusion of certain amnesty provisions carried over from a former executive order granting blanket amnesty. Last January UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] praised the Nepalese Supreme Court ruling [JURIST report] refusing amnesty for serious human rights violations committed during the civil war.