The government of Nepal should promptly enforce Supreme Court rulings and permit the regular courts to try cases of enforced disappearance and other grave international crimes, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today. On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, August 30, 2021, thousands of Nepali families are no closer to knowing the truth of what happened to their missing loved ones than they were when the country’s armed conflict ended 15 years ago.
Nepal’s Supreme Court has repeatedly ordered the government to investigate gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law during the conflict from 1996 to 2006, and to conduct a meaningful, effective transitional justice process to establish the truth and provide justice for thousands of cases of serious abuses.
“The Nepali government stands in blatant violation of express orders of the Supreme Court by failing to conduct a credible, timely transitional justice process,” said Mandira Sharma, senior legal adviser for South Asia at the ICJ.
The governmental Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) was formed in 2015 as part of the transitional justice process to investigate civil war abuses. In 2020, the CIEDP published a list of 2,506 people allegedly forcibly disappeared, but it has failed to determine what happened to a single victim, and nobody has been held accountable. Victims’ families have attempted to pursue justice through the legal system, but successive governments have blocked proceedings.
“The families of victims of enforced disappearance suffer deep anguish, not knowing what happened to their loved ones, while the Nepali government has used a sham transitional justice process to block their efforts to discover the truth,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The current process does not provide truth, reconciliation, justice, or accountability, but instead shields perpetrators and denies victims their rights.”