KATHMANDU: There is a popular legal maxim: justice delayed is justice denied. Now this proverb seems quite suitable in relation to the transitional justice related to the rights of the victims of decade-long Maoist conflict. Following the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the government’s inability to promulgate ordinance has further shattered the hopes of the conflict victims to get justice.
Rather than dealing with such matters of large public interest with urgency, the government has only been concentrating on the
politics. Recently it issued two ordinances — extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance — to fight against money laundering, an emerging crime in the world where the black money is turned white by transferring from one place to another. Amidst controversy, the government is also doing homework to promulgate ordinance to bring the estimation of national income and expenditure for the coming fiscal 2012-13.
These laws have their own significance in the society, but it is an equal matter of concern that the government does not seem eager to address the concerns of the public which have been pending since many years. With the promulgation of the interim constitution in 2007, the question of right to justice has been raised in investigation of killing of over 13,000 persons and 1,200 persons disappeared during the period of conflict.
The matter could not be settled during the life of the parliament because the Maoist wished to bring the laws introducing blanket amnesty to those who had hands in the matter during the period. But it could not be endorsed due to serious opposition from major political parties and national and international human rights organisations.
At a time when the government has been invoking the presidential power to promulgate ordinance as per the recommendation of the cabinet as per Article 88 of the constitution, it is the right means to address the impunity if the government promulgates ordinances to set up Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Disappeared. The right of issuance of ordinances would be justifiable if the government uses its authority for such a right cause. If the state further delays this right, the people will lose their faith on the state.
“We have been struggling for the rights of the victims for a long time, but the government kept turning a deaf ear to the voices of the human rights activists and cries of the victims,” human rights Advocate, Govinda Sharma Bandi told THT Perspectives. “While it is already too late to respond to the victim, it is almost clear that the present Maoist-led government will not enact the law in this regard,” Bandi added.