'Lanka-led, UN-backed Probe Way Forward'

Tamil outfits raise pitch for hybrid panel to investigate war crimes

Published: 30th September 2015 02:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2015 02:50 AM   |  A+A-

COLOMBO:The US Secretary of State John Kerry has told Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena that his country supports a Lankan-led and UN-backed justice and reconciliation mechanism in Sri Lanka.

This was stated when Kerry met Sirisena on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday.

“Kerry noted the United States’ support for a credible domestic process for justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka -one that is led and owned by the Sri Lankan people and is conducted in cooperation with the UN and with international support,” an American embassy press release said.

Meanwhile, 40 Tamil organisations, including political parties, have in a joint statement on Tuesday, reiterated the demand for an UN-led “hybrid” judicial mechanism to investigate and try war crimes cases in  Sri Lanka.  

The demand, made by Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF); Peoples’ Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE); Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO); Tamil National Peoples‘ Front (TNPF) among others, rests on the conviction that any mechanism, which is by and large managed and controlled by Lanka, will not be deemed credible by victims.

“In deference to the Report of the Office of the UN HCHR Inquiry on Sri Lanka (OISL report) we were willing to consider the possibility of achieving justice and accountability through a credible hybrid mechanism led and managed by its international component under the aegis of the UN. But we regret that the draft (US-Lankan) resolution does not adequately provide for the setting up of such a credible hybrid mechanism. The paragraphs, when read together, only seek to provide the appearance of credibility to a domestic process through the appointment of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.”

“The Lankan Government appointing foreign judges to its own judicial mechanism will not address the structural factors that inhibit domestic structures in Sri Lanka, reasons for which are detailed in the OISL report,” the statement said.

Significantly, Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the single largest Tamil party in the North and the largest constituent of the TN, is not a party to the statement.

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