To its credit, the Nepali media has written regularly about successive governments’ lack of action on transitional justice since the Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed in 2006. Reporting has focused on the legal framework, which in 2015 Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled must be revised because it granted amnesty for the most serious crimes of the conflict.
In the civil war, from 1996 to 2006, the state and Maoists combined to kill 17,000 Nepalis, torturing and disappearing thousands more.
But somehow we in the media have overlooked the other strands of transitional justice. These include perpetrators revealing the truth of their crimes and the state providing reparations to support victims and their families to survive the losses they suffered. In fact, victims have said clearly and consistently post-conflict that their priorities are knowing the truth and getting support for their livelihoods; prosecutions rank a distant third.
I was pleased to learn more about this from Pooja Pant who is with the project Memory, Truth and Justice. In recent years the project has worked with victims’ groups to record recollections of Nepals’s conflict from around 200 victims and members of their families.
Second generation of fighters for memory, truth & justice
Other work has been quietly going on in the 14 long years since the peace agreement was signed: monuments, parks and infrastructure like communal water taps have been created in communities and days of mourning have been declared in the names of conflict victims. As you can hear from Pooja in this episode of the Nepal Now podcast, the first generation of fighters for memory, truth and justice are slowly stepping aside but their successors are prepared to dedicate themselves for the long term.
It looks like justice, in its many forms, will not be forgotten in Nepal.