Sri Lanka would be subjected to ‘universal jurisdiction’ unless allegations were probed – Mangala

Mangala Samaraweera

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday warned of dire consequences unless accountability allegations, levelled against Lankan military were properly investigated.

Responding to SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s declaration on Tuesday, Oct 15 that he wouldn’t respect Geneva Resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka on Oct. 01, 2015, Minister Samaraweera emphasized that the country was bound by its own Constitution to ensure equal protection of the law to all.

“Shouldn’t we do justice to all our citizens including our security forces personnel by investigating allegations so that those who may not be guilty of a crime do not have to carry the weight of an allegation with them to the grave? Should we let allegations remain without investigations and make our security forces personnel vulnerable to be subjected to universal jurisdiction? Minister Samaraweera asked in a statement issued yesterday.

Minister Samaraweera challenged Gotabaya Rajapaksa as to how he could dismiss Sri Lanka’s commitments to our citizens on human rights, rule of law and processes for truth-seeking, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence including Geneva Resolution 30/1.

He said: “Gotabaya Rajapaksa also dismissed the need to address the grievances of families from all parts of our country whose loved ones including security forces personnel are missing. With the arrogance of an authoritarian regent, he remarked that the ‘people in the North and East have more important issues: jobs, education, etc, and we can’t hang on to old things; we have to move forward’. By saying that, he claimed that he and he alone knew what was best for each and every individual citizen in this country including how they should think and feel, including in the face of personal tragedy.”

Smaraweera alleged that Sri Lanka had to pay a heavy price for the failure on the part of the previous Rajapaksa administration to deal with our conflict-ridden past. The government irresponsible response to international concerns isolated the country and the situation remained the same until the last presidential poll in January 2015, the Minister claimed.

Referring to a joint statement dated May 26, 2009 made by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Secretary-General of the United Nations that dealt with Sri Lanka’s responsibility in respect of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, Minister Samaraweera faulted the former administration for not keeping its promises.

(Source: The Island)