The above-mentioned organisations have just received a 5-page decision dating back to 16 September 2011 by which the Federal Attorney General decided not to open an investigation, on the ground that Mr. Dias was no longer present on Swiss territory. However, the Federal Attorney General pointed out that several episodes of the conflict “highlight Mr Dias’ personal involvement in the military operations undertaken and in the attrocities committed”. Accordingly, the federal judicial authority considers that “the existing suspicions against him are enough to justify the opening of a criminal investigation” in the event that Mr Dias comes back to Switzerland.
Acknowledging the suffering of victims
TRIAL and the SPM welcome the decision of the Federal Attorney General. According to Philip Grant, the director of TRIAL, “Sri Lanka still denies the extent of the crimes committed. As long as no impartial investigation is carried out in Sri Lanka, the authors of these crimes may be punished abroad”. Angela Mattli, head of campaigns at the SPM, says that “after this judicial decision, the time has now come for the politics to send a clear message to the sri-lankan government: impunity for war crimes is not an option any more”.
The aforementioned organisations now invite the Swiss authorities to put pressure on the Sri-Lankan government to conduct impartial investigations about the war crimes committed by the sri-lankan armed forces and the Tamil Tigers and to prosecute the authors of these crimes.
From the end of 2008 until May 2009, the Sri-Lankan government launched its final offensive to take control of the last territories in the hands of the guerrilla of the Tamil Tigers. The peak of horror was reached during this period: according to UN sources approximately 40,000 civilians were slaughtered. As such, both parties to the conflict have been responsible for multiple serious violations of international law, which, to date, have not been impartially investigated, neither in Sri Lanka nor before an international tribunal.