Report: Nepal politicians and army resistant to war crimes investigation
Report: Nepal politicians and army resistant to war crimes investigation

The International Center for Transitional Justice [advocacy website] released a 50-page report [text, PDF] Thursday addressing the reluctance of politicians and security forces to bring justice to tens of thousands of families who were gravely affected by the country’s decade-long civil war. During the conflict [Reuters report] more than 17,000 people were killed and more than 1,300 went missing. Although the war ended over 10 years ago, families of the victims are still waiting for answers and for those who are responsible to be held accountable. According the ICTJ report,

victims and their families place special importance on having their experiences recognized in an official way, through memorials, ceremonies, activities, and commemorative days. For victims, many of whom come from marginalized groups such as Dalits or indigenous and ethnic groups, being acknowledged in a such a way would mean finally gaining some respect, a sense of dignity, and self-worth.

Survivors and families of the victims want to see legislation that currently allows perpetrators to be granted amnesty quickly amended but they fear politicians, many of which are among those accused of war crimes, have no intention on following through. Nepal’s Law Minister, Shankar Nayak, has attributed the delay to political instability. Nepal’s decade-long civil war [JURIST report] led to the abolition of the Nepali monarchy in 2006 with the government and Maoists signing a peace agreement. Since then, the government has been “fluid” with drastic changes occurring every nine to ten months.

Earlier this year Nepal extended [JURIST report] the mandates of two separate commissions tasked with investigating crimes from the country’s civil war. This extension came hours before the mandates were set to expire without any cases actually having been investigated in the two-year period. In May 2012 the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered [JURIST report] the government to complete the final draft of the nation’s new constitution by the following week. When that deadline was not met, then-prime minister Baburam Bhattarai announced [JURIST report] the 2008 parliament would be dissolved and new elections would be held later that year. In January 2014 the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that the selection of a new president was not an immediate need and should be postponed until the adoption of a new constitution. When officials met in January to draft the constitution, the meeting ended in violence [JURIST report], but officials have stated that the April earthquake, which killed more than 8,700 people, drove the leaders to work together and resolve the disputed issues. In June leaders of the four major political parties in Nepal reached an agreement [JURIST report] on key issues for the new constitution and settled on dividing the country into eight federal states.