Nepal PM ad­mits ‘de­lays’ in jus­tice for Maoist war vic­tims

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

KATH­MANDU: Nepal yes­ter­day marked the 10th an­niver­sary of the peace deal that ended a bloody Maoist in­sur­gency as the prime min­is­ter ad­mit­ted that jus­tice for its vic­tims has been de­layed.

In a TV show late Satur­day, Prime Min­is­ter Pushpa Ka­mal Da­hal-who led the guer­ril­las in the decade-long war-blamed po­lit­i­cal tur­moil for de­lay­ing jus­tice over wartime abuses. “It would have been bet­ter if we were able to con­clude it on time... but po­lit­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties of the tran­si­tional pe­riod de­layed the process,” Da­hal said, dur­ing a fort­nightly show in which he takes ques­tions from the pub­lic.

More than 16,000 died, 1,300 dis­ap­peared and thou­sands more were dis­placed dur­ing the con­flict that ended in 2006. The agree­ment brought the Maoist rebels into main­stream politics, has­tened the end of a 240-year-old Hindu monar­chy and trans­formed Nepal into a sec­u­lar repub­lic. But the im­pov­er­ished Hi­malayan na­tion has since cy­cled through nine gov­ern­ments as frac­tious po­lit­i­cal par­ties have traded blame over fail­ures to draft a new con­sti­tu­tion and to se­cure jus­tice for vic­tims of wartime abuses by both sides.

The peace pact in­cluded plans to es­tab­lish two com­mis­sions to in­ves­ti­gate crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing the con­flict-but they were only set up in 2014 af­ter years of po­lit­i­cal in­fight­ing. “Since I be­came the prime min­is­ter, I have been push­ing for le­gal amend­ments and a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment for the (war crimes) com­mis­sions to speed up their work,” said Da­hal, who was elected prime min­is­ter for the sec­ond time in Au­gust.

‘In­jus­tices need re­dress’

More than 60,000 vic­tims have filed com­plaints with the two com­mis­sions, which were only granted a two-year man­date that ex­pires in three months-leav­ing may doubt­ful they will ever see jus­tice. “The vic­tims feel a lit­tle hope­less. We have waited so long, but the in­ten­tions of the gov­ern­ment and the lead­ers are not sin­cere,” said Su­man Adhikari, who heads an or­ga­ni­za­tion that sup­ports vic­tims in their fight for jus­tice.

Adhikari’s own fa­ther, a teacher, was killed by Maoist rebels. Rights groups have also ex­pressed alarm at a deal signed in May be­tween the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment and the Maoist par­ties to with­draw civil war cases from the courts and of­fer amnesty to peo­ple ac­cused of abuses.

Hu­man Rights Watch said Nepal’s lead­ers have failed to de­liver on their prom­ise of ac­count­abil­ity. “The war was bru­tal, and Nepal’s po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship should not for­get that in­jus­tices need re­dress,” said Brad Adams, Asia di­rec­tor for the US-based watch­dog, in a state­ment Fri­day. “Nepali po­lit­i­cal lead­ers should stop sweep­ing war crimes and jus­tice is­sues un­der the rug, and in­stead live up to the in­cred­i­bly brave prom­ises made un­der the CPA (Com­pre­hen­sive Peace Ac­cord).”

Since the con­flict ended, Nepal’s courts have is­sued sev­eral ar­rest war­rants for al­leged per­pe­tra­tors. But only one case has re­sulted in con­vic­tions: that of five for­mer rebels jailed in 2014 for mur­der­ing a jour­nal­ist.

—AFP

KATH­MANDU, Nepal: In this pho­to­graph taken on Novem­ber 15, 2016, Sabi­tri Chilwal, widow of vic­tim Ganesh Chilwal who was shot dead by al­leged Maoists cadres in 2004 dur­ing Nepal’s decade-long war, speaks to AFP in an in­ter­view.

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