PM consults prez on transitional justice mechanisms
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA
KATHMANDU, Jan 8: Keeping in view the arrest of Nepal Army (NA) Colonel Kumar Lama in the UK on suspicion of torturing a detainee during the insurgency period, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Monday held consultation with President Ram Baran Yadav on endorsing bills related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Disappearance Commission to address the cases of human rights violations that took place during the decade-long Maoist conflict.
Prime Minister Bhattarai reached the President´s Office Monday morning to apprise the president of the arrest of Colonel Lama in the UK on Thursday when he had gone to meet his family members.
The prime minister maintained that the inordinate delay in formation of TRC and Disappearance Commission due to differences among political parties had invited such a humiliating situation to the country, sources said.
"This kind of incident [arrest of Lama] could repeat even in the future if we failed to address human rights issues. We should settle the issues through the formation of TRC and Disappearance Commission on our own at the earliest," the prime minister´s political advisor Devendra Paudel quoted the prime minister as saying to the president.
The prime minister´s latest overtures on the formation of TRC and Disappearance Commission come amid criticism from national and international human rights groups that Nepal had utterly failed to make those guilty of human rights violations during the Maoist insurgency accountable. Though the government and political parties have objected to the UK government´s move, rights groups have welcomed it, saying that Nepal had failed to act against the right abusers on time.
PM speaks to media after meeting the president. (Photo: Republica)
In early October, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had released a 233-page Nepal Conflict Report that chronicles some 30,000 documents and cases of the insurgency-era human rights violations. The report documents and analyzes the major categories of conflict-related violations of human rights law and international humanitarian laws that took place from February 1996 to November 21, 2006.
According to the presidents´ press advisor Rajendra Dahal, Prime Minister Bhattarai also sought the president´s cooperation on endorsing an ordinance related to organized crimes. "The president has told the prime minister that he was always ready to endorse ordinances if there was consensus among political parties. He has suggested to the prime minister to bring ordinances through consensus among political parties," Dahal said.
Though Nepal has already endorsed two of the three bills -- Extradition Bill and Mutual Cooperation Bill -- as per the condition set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering body, to avoid being blacklisted by the international community, another bill --- Bill to Control Organized Crimes -- failed to get parliament endorsement due to strong opposition from the Baidya faction of then UCPN (Maoist).
Secretary at the prime minister´s office Krishna Hari Banskota said Nepal has yet to endorse one bill to fulfill its commitment to the FATF. "Nepal risks being put in the dark grey area if we failed to endorse an ordinance related to organized crimes before the next meeting of FATF scheduled for the second week of January in Hong Kong," he said.
Nepal is now put in Grey Area for failing to endorse the Bill on Organized Crimes. Cabinet sources said the government is scheduled to forward an ordinance on organized crimes to President Yadav on Monday in the absence of parliament.
No rift with prez: PM
Prime Minister Bhattarai has brushed aside speculations and media reports that there was a serious rift between the President´s Office and the Prime Minister´s Office.
Talking to media persons after the meeting with President Yadav, the prime minister said he is taking initiatives to resolve the current political and constitutional deadlock. The prime minister said he briefed the president about the latest political developments and efforts being made to resolve the deadlock through consensus among political parties.