The Second People’s Movement, the nearing end of the 1996-2006 internal conflict and the prospect  of the Constituent Assembly election created  hope and expectation  for real change in Nepal. Through its promising text,  the  2006 Comprehensive Peace  Accord of Nepal (CPA)  contributed to these  hopes, suggesting  that   inclusive  and  substantive   socio-economic  transformation  could  be  within  reach. However, more than  twelve years on from its conclusion, the  CPA is often  regarded  as a half-fulfilled promise. In this paper I examine different legal facets of the reception  and ‘translation’4 of the CPA into Nepal’s post-conflict  legal order  with the  objective  of contributing  to  explanations  provided  for the unfulfillment (or, only partial fulfilment) of the expectations  risen by the 2006 events mentioned above. The paper  will start  discussing the  ‘nature and legal status’ of the  CPA, demonstrating – through  the analysis of key informant interviews – its similarity to law-politics threshold concepts such as the state of exception.  After the  conclusion  of a peace  agreement the  state  re-asserts  its sovereignty  through, among other initiatives, re-establishing its monopolistic domain over law and law-making. This is exemplified, for instance, by the dismissal of all parastatal Maoist structures – including the legal ones – following Art 10.1 of the CPA. However, complexity might get lost in translation  when documents  that do not easily fit into positive legal categories – such as peace agreements – are interpreted through the positivist-minded state  legal machinery. To illustrate this claim, the paper  will provide a reading of the key Supreme Court case Liladhar Bhandari and Others v. Government of Nepal and Others (2009). The last section of the paper will bring into the analysis the concept of liberal peace and its prioritisation in the peace process, and will interrogate the effectiveness of legal change not supported (or only partially supported) by change in power relations.

The analysis presented in this paper is to be situated within my doctoral research on law and peace agreements. Please see