COLOMBO: Nine Civil Society organizations from Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces, have demanded that the “hybrid” Special Court recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to go into war crimes charges, should have a majority of non-Sri Lankan judges and that it should be led by the UN.
“The international component should be given pride of place and control over the domestic component in a hybrid mechanism for it to be deemed credible. We emphasize this because the domestic component in a hybrid mechanism, for reasons spelt out in the UN report, will have to be kept to a minimum so as not to affect its overall credibility,” the organizations said in a statement on Friday.
The mechanism should be partly led by the UN and also “internationally legally mandated”, it added.
Supporting the demand for a hybrid mechanism, the North-East based Women’s Action Network (WAN) pointed out that in the 2010 Vishavamadu rape case involving four military men, bail has been given and one of the accused has even left the country despite uncontested evidence (including DNA tests) that they had gang-raped a returning Tamil IDP woman. Meanwhile the victim is being harassed, beaten, and threatened to keep silent, WAN charged. More recently, WAN lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, alleging that police officers perpetrated sexual torture against a single Tamil mother from the Wanni.
Seeking a witness protection system, WAN said that its members and other women's groups continue to be watched, harassed, and visited at their office by CID and TID officers.