The transitional justice body formed by the government to investigate cases of enforced disappearances during the Maoist war has decided to give families of disappeared one more chance to register complaints.
The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) is planning to publish a notice next week, asking those who failed to register complaints last year to do so now.
“Even though we extended the deadline twice last year, many were still unable to register their cases,” CIEDP spokesperson Bishnu Pathak told Nepali Times on Tuesday. “We are giving them one more month to inform us about enforced disappearances of their family members.”
The CIEDP had received more than 3,000 cases of alleged disappearances last year, and after filtering out over 5,000 cases of duplication it is now preparing for preliminary investigation of the remaining 2,800 cases.
“After preliminary investigation, the number of cases that actually needs to be investigated will decrease further,” said Pathak.
The latest report by the International Committee of Red Cross shows only 1,334 people made disappeared by the state forces and the Maoists remain missing till now. Although cases of enforced disappearances were reported as early as in 1997, the problem had worsened after the government declared a state of emergency in 2002 and the Royal Nepal Army entered the war.
After the end of the conflict in 2006, the government and ex-rebels agreed to form a transitional body to investigate enforced disappearances.
But the CIEDP was formed nearly a decade after the ceasefire, and its first two-year tenure was extended by one more year early this month. But it is unlikely to finish its job even in the extended period.
Even if the CIEDP finishes investigations into all cases before its extended term expires, it cannot punish perpetrators due to the lack of a law that criminalises enforced disappearances.
The international community has been pressing Nepal to revise the Enforced Disappearances, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 so torture and disappearances can be criminalised.
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