A special hybrid court with domestic and international participation suggested. “A purely domestic mechanism cannot be trusted”.
Sri Lanka responds : “Report’s recommendations would receive due attention of the relevant authorities, including the new mechanisms that are envisaged to be set up”.
By Siva Sivapragasam
The UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid bin Ra’ad Al Hussain said that a special hybrid court with domestic and international participation should be set up to investigate cases of war crimes committed by both sides during the Sri Lankan Civil War.
Releasing the Office of the High Commissioner’s Investigation Committee on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, he said that that both sides were likely to have committed war crimes during the Sri Lankan civil war.
The UN Human Rights Chief also said that a purely domestic mechanism cannot be trusted due to decades of violation of human rights.
The exact nature of hybrid court can’t be spelt out now, the UNHR Chief said. He added that international judges and prosecutors should be involved in the process.
“Our investigation has laid bare the horrific level of violations and abuses that occurred in Sri Lanka, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, recruitment of children and other grave crimes,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations’ top human rights official, said in a statement accompanying the report. The “organization and planning” was apparent in many of the crimes documented in the report, Zeid said without elaboration
Victims and activists welcomed the U.N. call for a special court with international judges, prosecutors and lawyers, according to Reuters news agency. The report has not named any suspects in the 26-year war that ended in 2009, saying that individual prosecutions should be left for the new court. The Report also added that “the domestic criminal justice system [in Sri Lanka] also needs to be strengthened and reformed, so it can win the confidence of the public,
Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement to Reuters stated ,”The government of Sri Lanka will ensure dialogue and wide consultations with all stakeholders … in putting in place mechanisms and measures that will facilitate the right to know, right to justice, reparations and guaranteeing non-recurrence with the aim of achieving reconciliation and durable peace.”
The statement also stated that the report’s recommendations would “receive due attention of the relevant authorities, including the new mechanisms that are envisaged to be set up”. (inputs from Reuters & New York Times)