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Lanka's NP council seeks intl court to probe war crime allegations


Press Trust of India Colombo
Sri Lanka's Northern Province Council has passed a resolution requesting the UN Human Right Council to establish an International Court to investigate allegations of war crimes against the armed forces during the decade-long civil war between the LTTE and the Army.

The resolution, which was submitted by the Northern Provincial Councilor MK Shivajilingam, was passed with a majority at the 117th council session held yesterday, Tamil political sources said.

Shivajilingam said the government had failed to take action to probe into war crime charges despite the UNHRC resolutions passed since 2013.

"A probe by the government to solve human rights violations cannot be trusted. Since the latest UNHRC session has begun, a resolution should be sent to it," he said

"This council calls upon the UN and the international community to require Sri Lanka to ratify the Rome statute as recommended by the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka," the resolution said.

It also urged India, US and European Union to mediate a political solution in Sri Lanka "recognising that the Tamil people are a Nation with their traditional homeland in the contiguous north East region of Sri Lanka."

The council resolution came as the UNHRC began its 37th session on February 26. A report submitted by its chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein advocated application of universal jurisdiction on Sri Lanka to ensure accountability.

Sri Lankan troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have faced international condemnation for alleged human rights violations during the long-drawn conflict.

The UNHRC in three successive resolutions has urged for independent international investigation into alleged abuses blamed on both sides.

Sri Lanka is averse to setting up of an international hybrid court with local and foreign judges to investigate the alleged war crimes committed by the government troops and the LTTE in the last phase of the conflict.

The island country has a population of 18.5 million of whom the majority are Sinhalese (74 per cent). Other ethnic groups are made up of Sri Lankan Tamils (12.6 per cent), Indian Tamils (5.5 per cent).

According to the government figures, around 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts, including the civil war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 1,00,000 lives.

The LTTE, which led the separatist war for a separate Tamil homeland, was finally crushed by the Lankan military in 2009 with the death its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 6:55 PM IST

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