South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Two separate Public Interest Litigations (PILs) were filed at the Supreme Court (SC) today challenging the recently promulgated Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ordinance‚ which introduced blanket amnesty to serious human rights violations that occurred during the decade-long Maoist insurgency.
Advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet‚ Bishnu Prasad Pokhrel and a group of victims — chairman of Social Justice Committee Ram Kumar Bhandari and chairman of Terrorist Victims Orphan Society Suman Adhikary filed the cases — demanding the apex court to quash the provisions which are against the rights of the victims.
International rights institutions including the Office of the High Commissioners for Human Rights‚ Human Rights Watch and International Commission of Jurists have already objected to the ordinance.
The petitioners said Section 23 (4) of the ordinance was the most objectionable as it gave leverage of blanket amnesty to serious human rights violations including rape without the victims’ consent.
As per the international practice‚ the perpetrators need the consent of the victims to be granted amnesty.
“The authority given by the ordinance to the TRC is nothing but a discretionary power to grant blanket amnesty to war-era criminals‚” the petitioners have stated in their writs.
They have further said in the petitions that they have lost hope in transitional justice.
The petitioners claimed that the ordinance grossly violated a numbers of international human rights laws and instruments.
As the provisions violate Section 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights‚ Section 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights‚ Section 14 of the International Convention on
Torture and Other Type of Cruel‚ Inhuman and Degrading Treatment‚ Section 39 of the International Convention on Child Rights and Article 91 of the Geneva Convention‚ the ordinance cannot ensure the rights of the victims‚ they added.
Underlining the Section 25 and 29 of the recently-issued ordinance‚ which added more ambiguity on whether to take action against the perpetrators of human rights violations‚ the petitioners have asked the apex court to do away with the conflicting
provisions which are against the rights of the victims and the transitional justice as directed by various Supreme Court orders including Rajendra Dhakal’s case.
Saying that these provisions are against Article 12‚ 13(1) and 24(9) of the Interim Constitution‚ the petitioners further demanded that the apex court quash such provisions to make the TRC Ordinance more

Source: The Himalayan Times – 24/03/2013 (