Panel, Not Nations, to Probe Sri Lanka? - The New Indian Express

Panel, Not Nations, to Probe Sri Lanka?

Published: 06th April 2014 08:07 AM

Last Updated: 06th April 2014 08:07 AM

The international mechanism to investigate charges of war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka during the period 2002-2009, as stipulated by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution passed last month, is likely to be set up in mid-May.

It will be a Committee of Experts rather than nations, an informed official source told Express here on Saturday. Things will move fast as the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) will have to present an oral update at the 27th session of the UNHRC in September. And at the 28th Session in March 2015, it will have to present a comprehensive report.

The OHCHR will also assess the progress made by Lankan national investigative processes. The resolution had called upon the Lankan government to cooperate with the OHCHR in these matters.

Lanka Nonchalant 

But Lanka is nonchalant, informed sources say that Lanka is yet to decide on what steps it should take beyond stating that it has rejected the US-sponsored resolution. The government is divided between those who say that Lanka should not entertain an outside mechanism, and those who say that it should. 

But the national political line is that there is no moral requirement to cooperate with an international mechanism because Lanka actually got a majority at the UNHRC, with 24 out of 47 members either voting against the resolution or abstaining.  

Time Running Out

But the fact is that the international mechanism is coming, and it is going to be a millstone around Lanka’s neck for a long time. Time is also running out, observers say. Lanka has to set up a credible national investigative mechanism and show progress in its work.

Role of India, Japan 

India and Japan are nudging Lanka to act. India has urged Lanka to put in place a credible national mechanism and address issues relating to devolution of power, if Lanka is to take the sting away from an investigation. Japan is understood to be pressing Lanka to take concrete steps towards reconciliation.

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