Sri Lanka president wants ‘internal’ war crimes court
The president of Sri Lanka has said foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in an investigation into allegations of war crimes.
In a BBC interview, President Maithripala Sirisena said the country did not need to “import” specialists.
Both the army and the Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of atrocities in the civil war that ended in 2009.
The government previously backed a UN resolution calling for a war crimes court supported by foreign judges.
But on Thursday the president said: “I will never agree to international involvement in this matter.”
“We have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues,” he said.
“This investigation should be internal and indigenous, without violating the laws of the country, and I believe in the judicial system and other relevant authorities in this regard.
“The international community need not worry about matters of state interest.”
Asked when the court might be set up, he said: “These things cannot be done instantly or in a hurried manner.
“We will certainly reach our target but it’s a process.”
In October 2015, Sri Lanka co-sponsored a UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for a special judicial mechanism to prosecute war crimes to be established – with support from Commonwealth and foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators.
As many as 100,000 people are thought to have died in the Sri Lankan civil conflict.
The final months of the 26-year war were the most bloody, with the government accused of repeatedly shelling safe zones set up to protect civilians. The Tamil Tiger rebels were accused of holding civilians as human shields and firing on those who tried to flee. Both sides denied the allegations.
President Sirisena said that while the UN report released in September 2015 had pointed to army involvement in war crimes, the report had failed to mention names. He said it was important to determine whether such crimes actually took place.
He said: “If the Sri Lankan Army is alleged for such crimes, our concern should be to free them from those allegations. If anyone has committed a crime, there’s no doubt that they should be punished. However it is wrong to make the entire army guilty for what happened.”
The president also dismissed reports from the advocacy group Freedom from Torture that people in detention were still being tortured.
Saying the claims were made by people who were close to the Tamil Tigers, President Sirisena added: “I totally deny that. If some one can prove with evidence, I am ready to give them the opportunity. Justice is served equally in this country.”
(BBC – By Azzam Ameen)
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There we go again.
A couple of months ago, SL stood proudly and supported a resolution at the UNHRC for an independent judicial enquiry against alleged human rights violations in the last 10 years of the war.
Now, as Sinhala Buddhist leaders always did since 1948, the President states that the mechanism is to be confined to local legal resources.
We all know of the quality of justice in SL. The Current CJ Sri Pavan has no control over what goes on in the legal framework.
Magistrates are receiving phone calls from previous (and perhaps, some current) rulers and are visibly responding to them. A pretty lady MP was released on bail on a Saturday where Govt Dept’s involved in releasing prisoners were made to work on Sat.
I wonder why people are being released after 2 weeks in Remand prison? If the law permitted, why weren’t they released sooner?
The whole Supreme Court including the Tamil CJ and the whole Appeal Court consists of individuals who are not worthy of the positions they hold.
Another opportunity for true reconciliation is being lost unless the last living patriots, CBK and RW bring this pambaya under control.
I hope PM and other cabinet ministters echoing the same idea. We do not need foreign judges!!
Before the government or the UNHRC proceed with this farce of a war crime tribunal they ought to get their defenitions right. Based on this then they can proceed with framing charges.
For starters what is war? Tamils make historical claims that really does not stand the test of time and there is no real evidence for most of the evidence is fragmentary and isolated. The tamils in the Nadu has greater claim for an autonomous sovereignty culturally and geographically yet they remain part of greater india
What is the role of India and the nadu in particular in this conflict other than to excercise some sort of pseudo colony!
Now in relation to war crimes the UNHRC should be more specific to justify their claims in the north. The whole issue ought to be taken in context and not part of it and its historical development what was Indias role and with British support
During the last days of war lasted about three days
If teh army herded the tamils including P and his mob and then exterminated them then there is a definite case of genocide. It did not happen that way it was P who herded the tamil to provide them with a human shield.
Assuming that 40000 were killed how were they killed
How were the bodies disposed of …were there any massive graves for cremating 40000 takes a lot of doing particularly in a matter of few days. Even then there must have been some clues left behind.
The only evidence that UNHRC has is channel 4 recordings which has never been authenticated.
Then the lists have they ever been verified.
The government ought to adopt a hard line and challenge the UNHRC on these counts.
Recently a high profile Brit came to sri lanka and claimed that they cl,eaerd 200000 land mines which is lot for small place like Jaffna. What were their origins then they could conclude as to who planted them
It is not the judiciary that is corrupt but the people who make up the judiciary including the government,
those in the United Naitions and its affliates that support this system fall in to the same category.
Zama your point is well taken. Since the so called ‘last days’ is focused how can a government troops kill 40,000 people? It is certain that hole allegations are framed to punish the Sri Lankan government whiched the war machine of the terror out fit LTTE. Is good to see for the first time HE Sirisena is speaking as a president.
The UNHRC boss is due in a couple of days.
Channel 4 TV crew arrived a week ago and have been busy in the North.
We are about to be hit hard below the belt in the next couple of weeks.
The UNHRC boss will conduct a post visit interview with the press where we will be soundly criticised for dragging our feet over implementation of the UNHRC resolution.
This will be followed by a Channel 4 documentary, this time showing Chinese incinerators installed in the Nandi Kadal beach spewing clouds of smoke disposing human remains in the weeks that followed the end of the war.