COLOMBO: Responding to the UN report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, the Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that due attention will be given to its contents and recommendations.
The Ministry told the Office of the UN High Commissioner For Human Rights (OHCHR) on Wednesday, that it recognizes that the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) was not a “criminal investigation” but a “human rights investigation” and that the Lankan government and the mechanisms that are to be set up ensure human rights, justice and non-recurrence of abuses, will give “due attention” to the contents of the report and the recommendations therein.
The Ministry said that, as per the mandate the Lankan leadership got in the January 8 Presidential election, the government will take all measures to ensure non-recurrence of abuses; and to have dialogues with all stakeholders, including the victims, all political parties, the civil society, the military, the UN and the international community.
It said that the government is committed to putting in place mechanisms to ensure the Right to Know, the Right to Justice, the Right to Reparations and to Non-recurrence of abuses.
Silent on International Court
The Ministry did not directly refer to the UN report’s demand for setting up a “hybrid” (a mixed Lankan and International) Special Court to try war crimes cases. Nor did the Ministry challenge the report’s contention that war crimes had been committed.
Tamils and Sinhalese view the report differently. The Tamil National Alliance has welcomed it. Its chief, R.Sampanthan, told Express that the report had told the “truth” and hoped that it will lead to a permanent solution to the long standing Tamil question.
Criticizing the report for invading Lanka’s sovereignty, Sinhalese political commentator Dayan Jayatilleka said that Lanka’s sovereignty had been assaulted by the demand to accept foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators. The investigation was a violation of the mandate of the UNHRC also, he contended. He recalled that India had said so when it opposed such an investigation. “Lanka should reject the report outright,” Jayatilleka said.