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Sri Lanka rejects calls for international probe into rights violations

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lanka on Wednesday rejected calls for setting up an international judicial mechanism to probe alleged human rights violations during the final phase of the conflict with the LTTE, saying constitutional challenges prevent foreigners from participating in the process.

Foreign Minister Thilak Marapana's comments came during his address at the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

Marapana explained to the UNHRC the legal and Constitutional challenges which prevent foreigners participating in the judicial process.

"It has been explained that if non-citizen judges are to be appointed in such a process, it will not be possible without an amendment to the Constitution by 2/3rd of members of Parliament voting in favour and also the approval of people at a referendum," a statement released here said.

The 2015 resolution had called for an international investigation in a hybrid court on alleged human rights violations blamed on both the government troops and the LTTE during the final phase of the conflict which ended in 2009 with the killing of rebel Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Marapana said that the military action by the Sri Lankan forces was against a group designated terrorist by many countries and was not against any community.

"Further it must be noted that there are no proven allegations against individiuals on war crimes or crimes against humanity...It is an injustice to deprive any serving or retired officer of the Sri Lankan security forces or the police of their rights," he said.

Marapana said Sri Lanka should be encouraged to and assisted in finding innovative local mechanism with international best practices.

Tamil and rights groups have called for establishing an office of the UN rights commissioner locally to monitor Sri Lanka's implementation process.

Marapana said there was no justification for setting up of such an office as Sri Lanka had already taken many measures for transitional justice.

Sri Lanka co-sponsored a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution in September 2015 which made it committed to fulfil a range of measures dealing with human rights, accountability and transitional justice.

Recently, it came under international pressure to implement fully the measures identified by the UNHRC after the United Kingdom and Germany tabled a resolution at the UN body in Geneva.

The UN rights office calls for international investigations into alleged war crimes and encourages member states to prosecute Sri Lankans suspected of war crimes in accordance with universal jurisdiction principles.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 20 2019. 20:51 IST
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