Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fighting Impunity in Nepal

Addressing impunity key to Nepali peace process: Experts KANTIPUR REPORT KATHMANDU, JAN 26 -

National and international experts on transitional justice have urged political parties to see the issue of addressing impunity as intrinsic to the peace process and to establish without delay the key instruments of transitional justice as proposed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Advocacy Forum in the Capital on Tuesday, they said political parties harbour the misconception that any effort to address impunity would be tantamount to disturbing the peace process and this has been contributing to frustration among victims of the decade-long war.

"Each stakeholder of peace should understand that without addressing the prevalent culture of impunity, peace cannot be institutionalised," said Chairman of Asian Federation of Involuntary Disappearances Mugiyanto. "We are here to support the victims of enforced disappearances and encourage the government to address their appeal for justice."

Mugiyanto said as most Asian countries lack instruments to deal with disappearances, Nepal has an opportunity to set an example in this regard.

Ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance would provide Nepal the framework to deal with cases of enforced disappearances that occurred during the decade-long war, said Professor Gabriela Citroni, one of the drafters of the Disappearance Convention. "Disappearance is a history of many unanswered questions, such as where, how, when, who was disappeared by whom."

Speaking at the same programme CPN-UML leader Pradip Gyawali said though the Constituent Assembly Committee on Fundamental Rights has successfully incorporated a provision on retroactive law that would provide constitutional validity to the instruments of transitional justice to be set up by the government, there were chances that other political parties may chop off the provision anytime. "Even during drafting of the Interim Constitution, UML was the only party that stood for keeping a provision on retroactive laws, the parties [Nepali Congress and UCPN (Maoist)] involved in the conflict agreed to remove it," said Gyawali, stressing that rights activists should stay alert this time around too.

Transitional justice instruments such as the proposed commissions on enforced disappearances and on truth and reconciliation will become unconstitutional if the CA fails to incorporate a provision in the new constitution allowing the government to enact laws that function retroactively. As per general principles of law, no government can enact laws to punish any past activity, which were not criminalised by the law of that time. However, this does not apply when it comes to dealing with past crimes such as enforced disappearances, which are listed as crimes under international human rights law. Since the proposed commissions, by nature, would function retroactively, a constitutional provision would be necessary to give them constitutional legitimacy.


Additional news on video:

Also can be seen here:

No comments: