06/18/2016, 13.56
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Flooded with complaints, war crime commission scares Maoist leaders

by Christopher Sharma

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has received more than 57,000 complaints in two months. Scores involve former Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda. In an effort to protect its members, Maoists threaten to withdraw their support from the government. “If the government does not punish the perpetrators, the cases may be taken to international courts,” says Commission chair.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Since it went to work two months ago on war crimes perpetrated by Maoist rebels against the civilian population, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has been overwhelmed with thousands of complaints from the relatives of the victims.

In view of the situation, the Commission has decided to extend by a month the deadline for submitting applications, initially set for 16 June, to enable as many people as possible to seek justice.

So far, dozens of complaints have been filed against Maoist leaders, who fear indictment. For this reason, they have threatened to withdraw their support from Nepal’s current government.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2007 under the aegis of the United Nations. Maoists, Communists and conservatives have opposed it and sought to prevent those who committed crimes against humanity during the civil war (1995-2006) from being brought to justice.

During the ten-year conflict, Nepal’s Royal Army fought Maoist guerrillas seeking to establish a People’s Republic. Fighting left more than 17,000 people dead and more than 100,000 displaced.

Ganesh was of the victims. He was killed in 2014, two days after he organised support for people victimised by the rebels.

"I have confidence in the Commission,” his widow Sabitri Chiluwal told AsiaNews. “Now it must bring justice and take legal action against the criminals.”

Like many others, Ganesh was killed for daring to challenge Pushpa Kamal Dahal (AKA Prachanda), head of the Maoist party, and a former Nepali Prime Minister's party.

A total of 57,603 complaints have been filed, but that could go as high as 80,000 according to victims’ families.

The decision to extend the deadline for filing complaints is also due to the difficulties rural residents have in reaching the Commission's offices.

Traveilling through the villages, TRC chair Surya Kiran Gurung realised "that many people did not even knew that we had started to collect cases files. They asked us to give them more time. "

For now, the TRC is registering cases, but then it will be up to the government of Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli to establish penalties. The authorities, however, have shown signs of slowing down whenever Maoists threaten to withdraw their support from the government.

Still, “We shall never compromise on serious human rights violations,” said Gurung. “If the government does not punish the perpetrators, the cases may be taken to international courts.”

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