“We are confident that as the leader of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, Minister Field will take every effort to ensure that Sri Lanka fulfills its promise to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC),” said Mr. Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, TGTE Prime Minister. “To finally bring justice to Tamil victims, one of highest priorities should be creating a hybrid judicial mechanism with the participation of foreign and Commonwealth Judges, Prosecutors and investigators, as written in Resolutions 30/1 and 30/4, which we must remember, Sri Lanka voluntarily cosponsored. They must keep their word.”
As Minister Field has said himself, “Finding the truth is fundamental.” Yet, Sri Lanka’s President and Prime Minister repeatedly and publicly make statements that they will not create the hybrid justice mechanism Sri Lanka committed to the UNHRC. Adding insult to injury, members of the Sri Lankan Security Forces who are credibly accused of committing war crimes have been assigned to Senior Diplomatic positions around the world – One was even made a Cabinet Minister.
Even the Office of the Missing Persons (OMP) that was created due to international pressure is being used to hoodwink the international community to show that Sri Lanka is taking steps to full-fill its obligations to UNHRC. For example, one of the OMP Commissioners is a former senior military officer and the bill that created the OMP clearly states that evidence given to OMP cannot be used in any criminal or civil proceedings. This raises serious questions about the purpose of OMP. TGTE urges Minister Field to raise these issues with the Sri Lankan President, Prime Minister and OMP Commissioners.
TGTE also calls on Minister Field to address another disturbing development: Sri Lankan President Sirisena, during his recent address to the UN General Assembly, urged the international community not to interfere in the Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. This clearly contradicts Sri Lankan Governments commitment to the UNHRC.
“Since only six months is left for Sri Lanka to fulfil its obligation to UNHRC, statements like these raise serious questions about the Sri Lankan Government’s sincerity in fulfilling its commitments to UNHRC on accountability,” Mr. Rudrakumaran said. “This raises the question: If Sri Lanka fails to fulfill its commitment by March 2009, what should the international community do to secure justice for the Tamil victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity? More time will not bring justice to Tamil victims. More time will only serve to encourage Sri Lanka and other countries who commit abuses to feel comfortable in committing mass atrocities. Furthermore, it will make mockery of UNHRC.”
TGTE urges Minister Field, as the leader of the core group on Sri Lanka at UNHRC, to urge Sri Lanka to take credible steps to bring justice to Tamil war crimes victims. While the world rightfully acted swiftly within a year to address atrocities against Rohingya in Myanmar, almost ten years have passed for Tamil victims, and they are still waiting for justice.
Sri Lankan Tamil civilians made their voices heard when they demonstrated in favor of the recent resolution calling for a referendum and referral to ICC, which the Tamil local government bodies and Northern Provincial Council unanimously passed. This is necessary because self-determination is the only way Tamils can ensure the protection of their human rights, especially in the absence of a credible justice mechanism and genuine Sri Lankan political will.
“If Sri Lanka fails to fulfill its commitments to UNHRC by March 2019, it is important that Sri Lanka be referred to International Criminal Court(ICC)” TGTE Prime Minister Mr. Rudrakumaran added.
“In the meantime UN General Assembly should establish an international independent body to collect evidence and prepare dossier that will make it easier for prosecution in the national courts under universal jurisdiction and in the ICC.”