Over the weekend, Sirisena announced that he was seeking Trump’s assistance to pressure the United Nations Human Rights Council to drop war crimes charges against the Sri Lanka military. However, as per protocol such letters can only be written by the Foreign Minister of a country. “Therefore, it appears that either the country’s foreign policy is in crisis, or Sirisena is bypassing standard protocol applied,” a source said.
Addressing an event in Galle on Saturday, Sirisena said that it was because of him that the soldiers and even former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was saved from war crimes charges, because he acted swiftly and took necessary measures to send out the required ‘messages’ which resulted both the Unites States and even the UN Human Right Council granting lenience to Sri Lanka over the war crimes charges.
“I will ask Donald Trump to free us from these war crimes accusations. I want my country to be cleared completely from all the war crimes charges,” he said. However, during the final leg of the war in 2009, during which the UN accused the military of killing approximately 40,000 civilians, Sirisena was the acting Defence Minister, as Rajapaksa who officially holds the defence ministry portfolio was overseas.
Sirisena also added that he will make a similar appeal to the Antonio Guterres, the incoming Secretary-General of the United States, requesting his assistance to help Sri Lanka be free of war crimes charges.
During a meeting in September, Sirisena told visiting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to give him ‘more time’ to achieve reconciliation. “I told the United Nations Secretary General that as the country has just come out of a conflict; we need time to move slowly. So I asked him to give me some time,” Sirisena told the media following the meeting.
Last year, Sri Lanka announced its co-sponsorship of the US-sponsored resolution. In 2015 September, by co-sponsoring the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Resolution titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ the Sirisena government made a promise to Sri Lankans and to the international human rights community that this government will take genuine efforts for reconciliation. The Resolution emphasizes on the importance of consultative and participatory methods that include incorporating views of all relevant stakeholders to guarantee the effectiveness of the proposed Transitional Justice mechanisms.