Sri Lanka has the opportunity to investigate alleged instances of human rights violations during the war through a domestic mechanism with the new resolution placed at the UNHRC, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
Sri Lanka faced a number of issues because the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration made a number of promises to the UN and UNHRC about addressing alleged Human Rights violations but failed to follow through. The Rajapaksa administration also established the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) but failed to implement its recommendations, Wickremesinghe said during a meeting with Editors yesterday (27) at Temple Trees.
‘The UN brought in a resolution in 2009 about the incidents which allegedly occurred in the last phase of the war and the Rajapaksa administration promised to implement them within the year. However, nothing was done till 2014. The resolution which was to be brought in March 2015 would have led to economic sanctions, ban on trading with certain countries and foreign travel’, the Prime Minister pointed out.
Wickremesinghe also said that the UN postponed issuing this serious report at the request of the incumbent Sri Lankan Government and have come up with a new report which was a lot less severe on Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Truth Commission, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-Recurrence headed by the Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters and other religious representatives with the participation of a layman would be established.
A decision has already been taken with regard to the implementation of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution and a discourse would be created in the country with regards to the matter, he added.
He explained that the government had opposed many aspects of the Council report on Sri Lanka, adding that the agreement to bring about a new resolution was done with the approval of President Maithripala Sirisena.
The Prime Minister denied claims that the participation of foreign judges and lawyers in the domestic investigation and mechanism had been made mandatory; adding that this was a matter to be decided by the country and that such persons could also be given observer status.
“As a terrorist organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam brought enormous destruction to the country. It is a victory on our part to be able to include in the resolution the fact that the Tigers committed war crimes. The Tigers led by late Leader V. Prabhakaran massacred the Tamil leadership of the country. We must build that leadership again. The Tigers and Prabhakaran also attempted to destroy the leadership of the United National Party. Only I and a few others saved our lives.
Sri Lanka Freedom Party Members were also destroyed by the Tigers. We must create an environment conducive for any Tamil leader to rise democratically. Prabhakaran destroyed Colombo and Jaffna. The damage to the Tamil people and culture was immense. We must therefore, rebuild Jaffna. Certain political parties incited racism and caused massive damage. The media too has done the same,” Wickremesinghe remarked.
He emphasized that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, Rajapaksa’s family and the war heroes would not be sacrificed.
With the points made by the External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, this suggestion was brought forward aiming at setting up democracy in Sri Lanka.
Wickremesinghe further said a few steps were proposed through the new resolution.
“Even though there is an issue for the UNHRC whether Sri Lankan legal system alone can provide a solution to the issue, we made it clear that issue can be resolved through a domestic mechanism. However, we have no objection regarding getting technical assistance from foreign countries,” said Wickremesinghe.
He further added, Even though USA suggested to take opinion from Commonwealth judges and lawyers to speed the process, it should not be compulsory.’Discussions could resolve many issues’, he asserted.
He added that agreements were made to set up an office to investigate about missing persons and to instruct to entire process comprising of lawyers from the Commonwealth.
“We have opined that such instructions should not be any obstacles to our domestic process,” said the Prime Minister.
He took examples from setting up the Bribery Commission and Attorney General Department and added new laws needed to be implemented in punishing accused persons.
Wickremesinghe further added that this issue would have been resolved long time ago if the former government listened to him and proceed with a similar mechanism like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission adopted by South Africa.
(Source: Ceylon Today)