Monthly Update - April 2012
This report is issued by the UN RCHCO with inputs from its UN Field Coordination Offices and other partners and sources. The report covers April 2012. The next report will be issued the first week of June 2012.
The second categorization process of former Maoist army combatants was completed during April. Agreement was also reached on the selection process for those choosing integration into the Nepal Army, which deployed on 10 April to take over security of the Maoist army cantonments. The 3,129 combatants choosing integration was dramatically lower than expected, largely due to a lack of clarity about the selection process and rank determination and delays in the process.
With the integration of former Maoist army combatants moving forward, the attention of the political parties shifted to constitution making process during April. Intensive discussions on contentious constitutional issues underway were seen to be encouraged by the Supreme Court verdict disallowing any further extension and the media "countdown" campaign on the deadline to promulgate a new constitution before 28 May. The mood of the negotiations has been one of compromise and the sincerity and urgency of the current negotiations is clear.
Tentative agreements have been reached on some contentious issues (citizenship, judiciary and electoral system) but debate continues on the form of government and state restructuring, on which agreement was yet to be reached at the end of the month. New alliances are emerging and strengthening inside and outside the CA to pressure the political leadership, particularly on state restructuring. Leadership of the pre and post 28 May national unity governments was under debate, with decisions on this becoming tied to final decisions on constitutional issues. Both Nepali Congress and UCPN-M are well aware that Maoist support for a future Nepali Congress-led national unity government is tied to Nepali Congress supporting the continued leadership of Prime Minister Bhattarai until 28 May.
Serious backtracking on transitional justice occurred during April when party leaders agreed to increase the future commission’s power to grant amnesties for all types of crimes even without the consent of victims. Reportedly, political party leaders ordered the arduous task of withdrawing the existing two transitional justice bills from the Legislative Committee and then to introduce a new bill drafted by the Law Ministry.
While the Baidya-faction of the UCPN-M has continued to voice its dissenting views and attempted to mobilize, a UCPN-M split appears to have been contained, for now, with both sides recognizing it is in their interests to remain unified at least until 28 May.