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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

US Resolution at UNHRC Will be Favourable to Sri Lanka – Minister

The government said yesterday that despite various views being expressed the Accountability Resolution on Sri Lanka that the US would be moving later this month, at the ongoing 30th Sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council, would be favourable to the country.

The US having considered the realistic approach of the the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration to the war crimes allegations, without repeating the Rajapaksa’s claim that there were zero casualties during the last stages of the war, would do all it could to provide Sri Lanka the space and time to conduct an independent domestic inquiry into the allegations that had been levelled, Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo.

Pointing out that the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) on investigations it had conducted into accusations against government forces and LTTE during the period February 21, 2002 to May 19, 2009 represented a human rights and not criminal probe, Senaratne claimed that there would be no need to establish a Hybrid Special Court as recommended by the UNHCHR and it could be addressed through an independent domestic mechanism.

Responding to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call for reject the UNHCHR Report on Accountability Issues in Sri Lanka, Minister Senaratne said that it was due to Rajapaksa’s fault that the country was being humiliated at global fora. “If the Rajapaksas had genuinely addressed the grievances of those who had suffered due to the war and made a sincere attempt to redress them in a spirit of compromise without adopting a high handed and arrogant “Go to Hell” approach, there would not have been an opportunity for anyone to internationalise the issue. Instead of vigorously pursuing reconciliation and rehabilitation aimed at preventing a recurrence of an ethnic conflict, the people were treated to unprecedented state sponsored terrorism while the rulers plundered the country’s resources with impunity.”

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa said on Monday that the government had requested the UNHCHR, the 47-member UNHRC and US State Department to permit it to conduct an independent domestic inquiry without having to establish a Hybrid Special Court with international judges.

Copies of the written request had been handed over to the respective High Commissions and Embassies in Colombo, to sent to be sent to their leaders. Minister Rajapakshe told The Island.

The Justice Minister said that the United Nations was duty bound to consider Sri Lanka’s request favourably since the new government had restored the independence of judiciary and demonstrated its intent to address human rights issues.” We have also changed the procedure of appointing judges to higher courts through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, thereby giving the courts and other judicial bodies freedom to act impartially without political influence. Hence, a domestic mechanism comprising local judges without the participation of international judges would be able to probe the alleged war crimes during final phase of the battle against the LTTE.”

by Zacki Jabbar


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