‘Domestic mechanism to probe war crimes’

October 02, 2015 11:03 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 02:35 am IST - COLOMBO:

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who returned to Colombo on Friday after attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York, asserted that only a domestic mechanism would probe allegations of human rights violations.

Referring to the adoption of a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council on accountability, he told reporters here the mechanism would be in accordance with the Constitution of Sri Lanka. “We have removed the term ‘hybrid’ from our vocabulary,” he said, alluding to a recommendation made by the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

To discuss various issues concerning reconciliation, the government will hold conferences with all political parties, leaders of all religions, intellectuals and Sri Lankan diaspora, the President added.

Tamil National Alliance leader and Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan told The Hindu that as the resolution had been adopted with the consent of Sri Lanka, there could be no reservations for its implementation.

Mr. Sampanthan, who visited Palai Veemankamam [where the Army returned to original landowners a portion of private lands] to have first-hand knowledge of the progress of resettlement, said the resolution, among others, referred to a political settlement of the ethnic question. It is time for all concerned to ensure that a “comprehensive resolution” of the conflict is achieved, leading to a “genuine reconciliation.”

Former Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, regarded as a member of the camp led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said anything contrary to “national interests,” especially those of the security forces which “eradicated terrorism,” would be opposed.

Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council, said an important feature of the resolution was that Sri Lanka would be in charge of implementation that included formulating the time frame and prioritising the execution of different recommendations.

Amnesty International urged the global community and Sri Lankan authorities to see to it that victims and their families were consulted at every step of the process to get to truth and justice. Expressing disappointment over the dilution of principles of justice in the resolution, the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), a New York-based body, however said it would form an international team comprising judges, lawyers and human rights specialists to monitor the implementation of the resolution.

A statement, attributed to Pakistan’s envoy at the UNHRC Zameer Akram and released here by the country’s High Commission here, said: “those who have been critical of Sri Lanka’s efforts to overcome terrorism and separatism funded from abroad would do well to look at their own track record on the so-called war on terror.”

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