Bangla Version

Crimes of war

CaptureThe two commissions set up to investigate crimes committed during Nepal’s civil war have received nearly 57,000 submissions, but many victims are sceptical about getting justice. The United Nations has already said it will not support the process as it does not meet international standards so what hope is there for reconciliation? BBC Nepal’s Phanindra Dahal investigates. It had been a joyful occasion. Nawaprasad Ghimire had just celebrated the wedding of his youngest son in June 2005. Six members of his family were on a bus returning home, passing through Madi Chitwan, a town nearly 200km south-west of the capital Kathmandu. Royal Nepal Army soldiers in civilian uniforms were also on the bus. But Maoist rebels had planted a roadside bomb and detonated it. Thirty-eight people died, including Nawaprasad’s son, daughter, son-in-law, sister-in-law and two granddaughters. For more than a decade, from 1995 to 2006, Maoist rebels seeking to establish a people’s republic fought the army commanded by the king in the Himalayan nation. Now 74 years old, Nawaprasad was unable to stay in his village because the memories were too painful. Last month, he submitted a complaint at the Truth and Reconciliation commission (TRC), demanding that local Maoist cadres and their top leaders be held accountable for the attack. “Just because a few military men were travelling in it, a deadly attack on a civilian bus cannot be justified,” he said. “They should be punished on the basis of international law.” He listed former Maoist rebel leader and the newly-elected Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in his complaint. The conflict claimed nearly 16,000 lives and more than 1,300 people “disappeared”. A truth and reconciliation commission was part of the 2006 peace deal which also saw Nepal become a federal republic. But the two commissions to investigate human rights abuses and the disappeared were only established in 2015, a sign of the political instability and poor governance that continue to plague the country. Sangita Yonjan lost her father during a controversial military raid by the Royal Nepal Army while there was a ceasefire in August 2003. She was a sixth grader when her father Baburam, a local Maoist in charge, and 18 others were allegedly killed by the military after being captured in Doramba village in Ramechhap district in central Nepal. “My father was killed despite a ceasefire so his death is a heinous crime and those involved in it should face action,” she said.

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