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  Right Time

  Lot To Do
       Shambhu Ram Simkhada  
    Nepal’s diplomacy

Nepal’s first democratically elected Prime Minister BP Koirala presented a unique perspective of international relations with his assertion of democracy “as the underlying essence governing the conduct of relations between nations and peoples”.

 Some of his foreign policy initiatives proved so farsighted that many other countries went on to follow his suit. Nepal established its independent identity with a proactive role and merit-based outlook on important international issues even at the height of the Cold War.

  Look Within
       Bhoj Raj Poudel/Fatih Resul Kilinc  

  Wrong Approach
       Adity Karki  

  Heed The Victims
    Ending peace process

If there is to be lasting peace in the country, it is vital that the peace process be properly settled—and soon. What this essentially means is that the remaining parts of the process—chiefly the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission on Enforced Disappearance (CED)—be done in a way that fosters broader reconciliation. We are clear on this. If the thrust of the twin commissions is on persecution and revenge-seeking, it could potentially unravel all the notable achievements of the peace process so far, the achievements that have been hailed the world over as ‘historic’. The way ahead, in our view, is pretty clear-cut. In the whole TRC debate, the most important voice, inarguably, is that of victims. Gauging by their reaction to Republica’s queries on TRC, most of them aren’t looking for personal revenge at all. What they rather want is adequate reparations to be able to properly look after their families, especially in the cases where the primary breadwinners either died or ‘disappeared’ during the conflict. Most of them also said that rather than an endless cycle of bloodletting, they would much prefer a final closure.

This voice must be heeded. Make no mistake. What we are demanding is not that every crime committed during the conflict be ‘forgiven and forgotten’. That would be a travesty of justice. What we would rather see is the most egregious crimes that are barred by both national and international laws punished. But the major focus, once again, has to be ensuring lasting peace, and whatever road takes us there must be pursued. A section of the human rights community and media are pushing for a tougher line against wartime crimes; and frankly, they do have some robust legal arguments to back their demand. Yet the irrefutable fact of the Nepali peace process is that it is fundamentally a political undertaking. The warring Maoists didn’t surrender before state forces. They rather signed a political agreement with the mainstream parties, which, among other things, established them as a credible democratic force. Now to try to individually follow through on handpicked war-time crimes—no matter how heinous they might be—and ask for redress through normal legal mechanisms would be a violation of the spirit of the ongoing peace and constitution process.

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