US Falls in Line With India on Lanka War Crimes Probe
COLOMBO: The United States appears to have fallen in line with India’s consistent position that charges of war crimes and human rights violations relating to Sri Lanka are best investigated by an independent and credible domestic mechanism rather than an intrusive international mechanism, threatening its sovereignty.
The US, which had made the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) pass a resolution calling for an international investigation into the charges in the March 2014, has climbed down to accepting a independent and credible domestic investigation.
It has also said that it will move a resolution in the September session of the UNHRC, which will be drafted in “collaboration” with the Lankan government and other stake holders. It says that it is doing so after taking into account the changed Lankan political landscape and the “tremendous” progress made by the new regime in Colombo, in addressing the reconciliation issue.
This is in line with the India’s case for a credible domestic probe as opposed to an international probe, enunciated in the March 2014 session of the UNHRC.
Explaining India’s decision to abstain from voting on the US resolution, Ambassador Dilip Sinha had said that it ignored the progress already made by Lanka. He pointed out that the High Commissioner's report had itself acknowledged the progress made in reconstruction and resettlement and in the implementation of some of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
While calling for an effective and timely implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC report, including those pertaining to missing persons, detainees, reduction of High Security Zones, return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province, Sinha pointed out that India had consistently taken the stand that every country should address human rights violations through robust national mechanisms.
“The Council's efforts should therefore be in a direction to enable Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations of human rights violations through comprehensive, independent and credible national investigative mechanisms and bring to justice those found guilty. Sri Lanka should be provided all assistance it desires in a cooperative and collaborative manner,” Sinha said.