Dispute Resolution Committee: Comprehensive Peace Agreement
10.4. If any dispute arises in the interpretation of this agreement, a joint mechanism comprising both sides shall make the interpretation as per the spirit of the preamble and the documents annexed to this agreement, and such interpretation shall be final.
The CPA did not establish a dispute resolution committee per se. Instead, it established a joint mechanism, comprised of members from all sides. This mechanism was intended to interpret the preamble of the constitution and the documents annexed in the original agreement. No fundamental disputes were reported with regards to the implementation of the CPA in 2006.
A joint mechanism was used to amend the interim constitution three times in 2007 (the First Amendment on 13 April 2007, the Second Amendment on 13 June 2007 and the Third Amendment on 28 December 2007). These constitutional amendments contained provisions regarding the removal of the prime minister and the king. The provisions mandated that a two-third vote of the interim legislature could remove the prime minister and king should they pose an obstacle to the Constituent Assembly elections.1 The Third Amendment ensured Nepal would become a republic; this amendment was implemented during the first session of the CA.2 Both sides agreed to the creation of these amendments. Among these three amendments, the third addressed the Maoists’ demands that the country be declared a republic and that a PR electoral system be used in the upcoming elections. The Maoists withdrew from the government in order that these demands were met. This postponed the elections for a second time. Finally, parties reached a 23-point agreement on December 23. In the agreement, parties agreed to distribute the PR and the direct election seats along a 60-40 percentage line. They also agreed to hold elections before mid-April 2008 and that Nepal would be a republic state. These changes were adopted in the third amendment of the interim constitution on 28 December 2007.3 After this agreement was reached, the Maoists opted to join the government on 30 December 2007.4
- 1. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2007/235), April 26, 2007.
- 2. "Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007, As amended by the First, Second and Third Amendments," UNDP, Nepal.
- 3. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2008/5), January 3, 2008.
- 4. Ibid.
After the CA elections were held on 10 April 2008, a dispute over the formation of the national consensus government emerged. Part of the reason this occurred was because the established political parties were reluctant to recognize the Maoists as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly. Finally, parties agreed to amend the constitution for the fifth time. The amendment was adopted on 13 July 2008 and provided the basis for the formation of a majoritarian government.5
After the elections were held, the most contentious issue remained the peace process, specifically, management of the Maoist combatants. Parties disputed over whether or not the Young Communist Leagues should be dismantled, whether or not the properties seized by the Maoists during the insurgency should be returned, and finally, how peace and democracy would be effectively established. These disputes were not resolved despite the series of dialogues between the political parties at the task-force level and top-leadership level.
- 5. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2008/670), October 24, 2008.
After the elections were held, the most contentious issue remained the peace process. Parties disputed over whether or not the Young Communist Leagues should be dismantled, whether or not the properties seized by the Maoists during the insurgency should be returned, and finally, how peace and democracy would be effectively established. These disputes were not resolved. The Supreme Court ordered the government to return seized properties, but this order was not implemented.6 A dispute emerged amongst parties over the recruitment of the personnel to the Nepal Army. Parties failed to settle this dispute. The Maoist party eventually acquiesced to pressure to sack the Chief of Armed Staff (CoAS). This led to the collapse of the Maoist-led government when the president decided to reinstate the CoAS.7
The dispute over recruitment was settled when the Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition challenging how recruitment was handled in the Nepali Army.8 Nevertheless, other issues, including how to handle the YCL, whether or not to return seized property, and how to best establish peace and democracy, remain contentious.
Because many issues remained unresolved, the CA failed to deliver a draft constitution on the due date of 28 May 2010. To resolve the constitutional disputes, a high-level political mechanism was established and chaired by the Maoist leader and former Prime Minister, Mr. Puspa Kamal Dahal. This mechanism was comprised of representatives from seven parties in the Constituent Assembly, and was formed in October. Its aim was to settle the 210 disputed issues that had been identified by the Agni Kharel-led panel who consulted the concept papers of eight thematic committees of the CA. The task force resolved 100 of the disputed issues.9
Even though the CPA established a joint dispute resolution mechanism and parties were willing to work together, major issues still remain unresolved.
The Joint Dispute Resolution mechanism was dysfunctional. Notwithstanding the effort put together by the Joint Dispute Resolution mechanism and willingness of parties to resolve their differences on contentious issues, the mechanism failed to reconcile differences among parties. As a result, the Constituent Assembly failed to promulgate the constitution on 28 May 2012.
The Joint Dispute Resolution mechanism was dysfunctional.
As the high level joint dispute resolution mechanism failed to find consensus on various disputed issues, the main political parties agreed to form the Committee for Constitutional, Political Dialogue and Consensus Building (CCPDC) within the CA in order to find consensus on disputed issues. In the Constituent Assembly, elections for the CCPDC chairman and members took place on 25 April. Former rebel leader and former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai was elected unopposed as the chairman.10 The CCPDC had three months to submit its report to the CA. The CCPDC submitted its report in September in which it outlined disputed issues that were resolved and issues that were not resolved.11
While some major issues related to federalism, form of government, judiciary, and electoral system remained contested, a high level political mechanism involving senior leaders from major political parties continued to meet. After the earthquake on 12 May, senior leaders from major political parties prioritized finding solutions to disputed issues and finalizing the constitution drafting process in order to focus on post-earthquake reconstruction. As of 3 June 2015, leaders from major political parties are engaged in dialogue with hope to resolve disputed issues within days.12 Most of the disputes except for the demarcation of the boundary for the provinces were settled and the CA passed the draft constitution on 7 July 2015.13 For the boundary demarcation, the drafting committee suggested the establishment of a federal commission, which was mentioned in the draft constitution.