The UN report on Sri Lanka published today has identified patterns of grave violations in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011, strongly indicating that war crimes and crimes against humanity were most likely committed by both sides to the conflict. The report recommends the establishment of a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, as an essential step towards justice.
“Our investigation has laid bare the horrific level of violations and abuses that occurred in Sri Lanka, including indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, recruitment of children and other grave crimes,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “Importantly, the report reveals violations that are among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.”
“This report is being presented in a new political context in Sri Lanka, which offers grounds for hope,” Zeid said. “It is crucial that this historic opportunity for truly fundamental change is not allowed to slip.”
Among the most serious crimes documented in the report are the following:
Unlawful killings: Numerous unlawful killings between 2002 and 2011, were allegedly committed by both parties, as well as by paramilitary groups linked to the security forces. Tamil politicians, humanitarian workers, journalists and ordinary civilians were among the alleged victims of Sri Lankan security forces and associated paramilitaries. There appear to have been discernible patterns of killings, for instance, in the vicinity of security force checkpoints and military bases, and also of extrajudicial killings of individuals while in the custody of security forces, including people who were captured or surrendered at the end of the conflict. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) also reportedly killed Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese civilians, through indiscriminate suicide bombings and mine attacks, as well as assassinations of individuals including public officials, academics and dissenting Tamil political figures.
Sexual and gender-based violence: One shocking finding of the investigation was the extent to which sexual violence was committed against detainees, often extremely brutally, by the Sri Lankan security forces, with men as likely to be victims as women. Harrowing testimony from 30 survivors of sexual violence who were interviewed indicates that incidents of sexual violence were not isolated acts but part of a deliberate policy to inflict torture, following similar patterns and using similar tools. The report describes sexual torture which occurred during interrogation sessions, and also patterns of rape, much of which appeared to occur outside of interrogations sessions. Sexual torture was performed in a wide range of detention locations by different security forces, both during and after the conflict. Not a single perpetrator of sexual violence related to the armed conflict is so far known to have been convicted.
Enforced disappearances: Enforced disappearances affected tens of thousands of Sri Lankans for decades, including throughout the 26-year armed conflict with the LTTE. There are reasonable grounds to believe that enforced disappearances may have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population. In particular, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a large number of individuals who surrendered during the final phase of the war were disappeared, and remain unaccounted for. Many others, including people not directly linked to the conflict, disappeared, typically after abduction in ‘white vans.’
Torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment: Brutal use of torture by the Sri Lankan security forces was widespread throughout the decade covered by the report, and in particular during the immediate aftermath of the conflict. Some of the more commonly used centres had rooms that were set up with torture equipment, illustrating the premeditated and systematic nature of the use of torture. These rooms contained objects including metal bars and poles for beatings, barrels of water used for waterboarding, and pulleys from which victims were suspended. Victims interviewed for the report described seeing bloodstains on the walls or floors of these rooms, and described their own torture in detail.
Recruitment of children and their use in hostilities, as well as abduction and forced recruitment of adults: Information indicates patterns of abductions leading to forced recruitment of adults by the LTTE, which intensified towards the end of the conflict. Extensive recruitment and use of children in armed conflict by the LTTE and by the paramilitary Karuna group, which supported the Government following its spilt from the LTTE in 2004, was also documented. Children were often recruited by force from homes, schools, temples and checkpoints, and, after basic training were sent to the frontlines. According to numerous reports, in the last few months of the conflict, the LTTE increasingly recruited children below the age of 15. These practices would amount to war crimes if established in a court of law.
Attacks on civilians and civilian objects: There are reasonable grounds to believe that many attacks during the last phase of the war did not comply with international humanitarian law principles on the conduct of hostilities, particularly the principle of distinction. The report documents repeated shelling by Government forces of hospitals and humanitarian facilities in the densely populated ‘No Fire Zones,’ which the Government itself had announced but which were inside areas controlled by the LTTE. Directing attacks against civilian objects and/or against civilians not taking direct part in hostilities is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime. The presence of LTTE cadres directly participating in hostilities and operating within the predominantly civilian population, and the LTTE policy of forcing civilians to remain within areas of active hostilities, may also have violated international humanitarian law. However, this would not have absolved the Government of its own responsibilities under international humanitarian law. The duty to respect international humanitarian law does not depend on the conduct of the opposing party, and is not conditioned on reciprocity.
Denial of humanitarian assistance: There are reasonable grounds to believe that the Government placed considerable restrictions on freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel and activities, and may have deliberately blocked the delivery of sufficient food aid and medical supplies in the Vanni in the Northern Province, which may amount to the use of starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare. Such conduct, if proven in a court of law, may constitute a war crime.
Violations during the detention of internally displaced people (IDPs) in closed camps: The manner in which the screening processes were carried out, to separate former LTTE combatants from civilians, failed to meet international standards and facilitated ill-treatment and abuse. Almost 300,000 IDPs were deprived of their liberty in camps for periods far beyond what is permissible under international law. There are also reasonable grounds to believe that IDPs were treated as suspects and detained because of their Tamil ethnicity. This may amount to discrimination and the crime against humanity of “persecution.”
The report documents years of denials and cover-ups, failure to carry out prompt investigations, stalled investigations and reprisals against the family members of victims and others who have pushed for justice.
It notes that the repeated failure of successive domestic inquiries to bring justice has led to scepticism, anger and mistrust on the part of victims, particularly since “many of the structures responsible for the violations and crimes remain in place.” The report demonstrates the systemic weakness in addressing these crimes, especially when the military or security forces are involved. It also describes “reprisals against judicial and other professionals who try to prosecute human-rights related cases involving State officials.”
“The commitment by the new Government to pursue accountability through a domestic process is commendable…but the unfortunate reality is that Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system is not yet ready,” the report states. “First and foremost is the absence of any reliable system for victim and witness protection. Second is the inadequacy of Sri Lanka’s domestic legal framework to deal with international crimes of this magnitude. The third challenge is the degree to which Sri Lanka’s security sector and justice system have been distorted and corrupted by decades of emergency, conflict and impunity.”
The High Commissioner welcomed the positive steps taken by the new Government of President Mathiripala Sirisena since January this year, but said that “Sri Lanka must now move forward to dismantle the repressive structures and institutional cultures that remain deeply entrenched after decades of erosion of human rights.”
“This will not happen overnight, and no one should underestimate the enormity of the task,” he said. “We have seen many moments in Sri Lanka’s history when governments pledged to turn the page and end practices like enforced disappearances, but the failure to address impunity and root out the systemic problems that allowed such abuses to occur meant that the ‘white vans’ could be, and were, reactivated when needed. It is imperative that the Government seizes the unique opportunity it has to break the mold of impunity once and for all. This means there must be a root-and- branch transformation of the ways in which institutions and officials operate.” The report recommends a range of measures to develop a comprehensive transitional justice policy to address the human rights violations of the past 30 years and prevent their recurrence.
The High Commissioner urged all communities and sections of society, including the diaspora, to view the report as “an opportunity to change discourse from one of absolute denial to one of acknowledgment and constructive engagement to bring about change.”
“After so many years of unbridled human rights violations and institutionalized impunity, the wounds of victims on both sides have festered and deepened,” Zeid said. “Unless fundamentally addressed, their continued suffering will further polarize and become an obstacle to reconciliation, and – worse – may sow the seeds for further conflict.”
“The levels of mistrust in State authorities and institutions by broad segments of Sri Lankan society should not be underestimated,” the High Commissioner said. “It is for this reason that the establishment of a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, is so essential. A purely domestic court procedure will have no chance of overcoming widespread and justifiable suspicions fuelled by decades of violations, malpractice and broken promises.”
“The domestic criminal justice system also needs to be strengthened and reformed, so it can win the confidence of the public, but that is a process which will take several years to achieve and needs to be undertaken in parallel to the establishment of a special hybrid court, not in place of it. Indeed such a court may help stimulate the reforms needed to set Sri Lanka on a new path to justice, building public confidence along the way.”
The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council last year to conduct a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period 2002-11. The investigation report is based on eye-witness testimony, interviews with victims and witnesses, video and photographic material including satellite imagery (much of which is not in the public domain) that was analyzed by forensic and military experts, and an extensive review of documentation, including about 3,000 written statements and submissions, as well as previously unpublished reports. The OHCHR investigation team was not granted access to Sri Lanka and faced other constraints, including the previous Government’s use of threats, intimidation and surveillance to prevent people, particularly in the north of the country, from cooperating with the investigation.
Shamil / September 16, 2015
The war criminals including the leader mahinda should be[Edited out] and an independent state TE should be declared. Those are the ultimate law and natural justice. And ofcourse the process is started, No maithree, ranil, modi and even obama can stop it.
Aiya / September 16, 2015
Don’t dance to much……this is politics situations change overnight!
Bravo to God Praba …. ha ha ha he is burning in hell with his family.
Native Vedda / September 16, 2015
“Bravo to God Praba …. ha ha ha he is burning in hell with his family”
I suppose that you visited him wherever he is.
When you visit him next time see if he is chatting with anyone whom you know or admire.
Gage / September 17, 2015
You are right the Politics in this blessed land is hell.
Let God Praba burn in hell. Similarly shouldn’t the war criminals that killed innocents face the electric chair may be we can add a bit of fossil fuel and call it hybrid.
jansee / September 17, 2015
I thought it is always a one-way ticket to hell (or heaven). I am elated that you may be the first person to have returned from hell to tell what exactly happens there. May be who know, god (whoever it is) appointed you as his (or is it her) secretary. Good for you.
Agnos / September 16, 2015
There won’t be any independent state or Eelam.
The process of finding justice for war crimes is a long one, and its aim is just that–finding true justice for the victims. But it is a pipe-dream of some people like you that it will lead to a separate state for Tamils. Nothing like that will happen. And as the UNHRC report says, both the GoSL and the LTTE committed war crimes.
While the report gives momentum to that process of finding justice, and the victims can find some consolation, it still hasn’t done anything. Words are always cheap; everything depends on translating words into action. I will comment more when I have had a chance to read the full-length report.
Mallaiyuran / September 16, 2015
We have seen seen so many of this Modaya writing! Don’t fool everybody.
Amarasiri / September 17, 2015
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
RE: UN Human Rights Boss Urges Creation Of Hybrid Special Court In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Paras, both Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils have committed war crimes. If the the crimes courts has only Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils as judges, it will not work, because you are asking those who committed the crimes to be judges.
A purely domestic court procedure by the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils, will have no chance of overcoming widespread and justifiable suspicions fueled by decades of violations, malpractice and broken promises and crimes committed.
Therefore, international judges, who are non-Sri Lankan Paras, should be part of the Sri Lanka war crimes court.
The following are all true, including killings and ethnic cleansing by LTTE Tamils.
Among other things, it found that tens of thousands of Sri Lankans remained missing after decades of conflict, suggesting enforced disappearances had been part of a systematic policy.
“In particular, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a large number of individuals who surrendered during the final phase of the war were disappeared, and remain unaccounted for,” the rights office said in a statement.
Many others not directly linked to the conflict had vanished after being snatched up by “white vans,” it said. Wednesday’s report looked specifically at the period between 2002 and 2011.
It also described widespread illegal killings by both sides and a deliberate policy by Sri Lankan security forces to use rape and sexual violence as torture against both women and men.
It found that children were often abducted by the separatists from their homes, schools, temples and checkpoints and sent to the front lines as soldiers, while a group linked to the government had also recruited children.
Kamal / September 16, 2015
These all hell known by everyone from 6 years ago. What are the punishmens? What is the justice? Who will kill the warcriminals? There is no one to answer these questions.
Native Vedda / September 16, 2015
Enough is enough.
If there is a genuine Truth and Reconciliation process it will take care of truth, justice and forgiveness.
No need to kill more people just because you are mad and outraged.
Ajith / September 16, 2015
There is a great opportunity to President Maithiri & his government to bring back Srilanka as a peaceful, democratic Nation by reparing the damages done by the race based religious Fundamentalist politics of past six decades. Truth is important, Justice is vital, law & order is essential and equal rights and sharing of power is Valuable. Finding the truth does not necessarily need to lead to realisation, not to revenge taking or punishment. All crimes should be investigated and those who responsible should be identified. Those who lost their life should be honoured and respected.
Lanka Watch / September 17, 2015
Well Said Ajith. People (all communitities) should admit what happened
was wrong and put the past behind and continue with their activities
to form a stable country in the first place.
CountryFirst / September 16, 2015
According to the Zeid Press Conference, one thing is clear…NOTHING HAS CHANGED as far as the OHCHR is concerned. Sri Lanka has undergone all the pains of a “regime change”, but all that has been undergone in the country has been for NOTHING. Where does the US promise of an internal inquiry figure in this OHCHR call for a Hybrid Panel?
It has been a mirage…..DUPED AGAIN!
The unkindest cut of all was the response from the Government as being “CORDIAL”.
Plato. / September 16, 2015
Lets rewrite History.Lets edit the Aesops Fables-The Mahavamsa which was responsible,to a great degree,the present shame.
pacs / September 16, 2015
The of mangala is on the stage . The Puppet Show “Sri Lanka ” and the Audience in Geneva Theatre. Can you see who is pulling the strings???
Barathan / September 16, 2015
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has put all findings candidly and forthrightly. On the severity of the crimes he has minced no words. The recommendations to set things right are presented with utmost sincerity. To a nation accustomed for long to Emergency Culture, the prescriptions are certainly too bitter to swallow, much less to digest.
The UN Resolution to follow has perforce to embody what the Report politely mandates in it’s very spirit.
Pacs / September 16, 2015
Hybrid Special Court In Sri Lanka. How effective will be the witness protection in Sri Lanka??? where people suspect Bishop Rev Rayappu has been poisoned by SL army in Mannar.
sach / September 16, 2015
what about the people who funded terrorism here from foreign soil? and no mention of genocide, ethnic cleansing? LOL
None of the things mentioned are war crimes
Siva Sankaran Sarma / September 17, 2015
Not to mention that “40,000” thing which was the centerpiece of all the hysterical accusations emanating from We Thamizh quarters seems to have vanished into thin air :D
Native Vedda / September 17, 2015
Wee Thamihz Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon
What does Black and Decker think about this report? Is he still demanding to see live recording of incidents of rape?
“Not to mention that “40,000” thing which was the centerpiece of all the hysterical accusations emanating from We Thamizh quarters seems to have vanished into thin air :D”
If 40,000 was not the number you would subscribe to then let us hear from you the exact number, 45,000, 50,000, 55,000, 60,000, 65,000, 70,000, 75,000, 80,000, 85,000, 90,000, 95,000, 100,000, ……….. or tens of thousands as the report mentions.
Nihal Perera / September 17, 2015
Why does not UNHRC apply same rules on countries like Israel, US, etc., for the war crimes commited against Palastinians by Jews, and for killing millions of innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya by US forces..??? Why such double standards by UNHRC, and only focus on Sri Lanka, where government forces actually resculed thousands of Tamil civilians from blood-thirsty Tamil terrorists – LTTE..?
Ajith / September 17, 2015
You raised a good question about US war crimes. US war crimes are not war crimes committed within US to its own citizens by US government. Do you think the war crimes committed by Srilanka is against another country? When you ask about double standard you agree that Srilanka govt committed war crimes against its own civilians.
Then you talk about rescuing Tamil citizens from LTTE terrorist.Did Tamils asked for it? Why they still demand the removal of Srilanka military from their affairs? Why they still want international investigation against those army who liberated them? Do you kill over 250,000 civilians to liberate another 70, 000?
Citizen Perera / October 3, 2015
Well said Nihal.However , we THE SILENT SLs , including Silent Tamils, Muslims and Burghers are helpless! This is a world of opportunists. Where are the econ sanctions VS Israel ? As Rev S. Mahinda said to the Sinhalese, after the Palestinians gave everything they had and were forced to go to REFUGEE CAMPS to live there for more than 60+ years…AS GEDI WALATA HENAGAHALADA BATAHIRA UNGEEEE …specially the UK & US.
Uthungan / September 17, 2015
As a gesture of the positive measures for the reconciliation effort that the President Maithipala Srisena and PM Ranil Wickremasinghe had often promised, will they as a matter of priority see to the repeal of the PTA now?
K.A Sumanasekera / September 17, 2015
There you ,,,
No wonder our pretty boy FM said in Geneva, that he is bringing in Experts, Advisers, Lawyers and even Foreign Funds from the West to give our brave Soldiers and their Commanders Yahapalanya.
Monk Sobitha has been ture Green UNP all his robed life.He may even tie Pirith Nule on Zeids Judges, Prosecuters and Witnesses when the court proceedings begin..
Wonder what is our Sinhala Buddhists from the Village , Venerable Rathne and Abiththaya Champaka going to do for the brave Armed Forces?.
Will they conduct a Bodhi Puja at least , I wonder….
Native Vedda / September 17, 2015
KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera
What are you jibber jabbering?
“West to give our brave Soldiers and their Commanders Yahapalanya.”
Actually your war criminal soldiers and commanders need to tie loads of Pirith Nule. The saffron clad thugs Kirama Wimalajothi and Galagoda Aththe Gnanasaara got lots of free time in their hand now, they will be happy to oblige the war criminals.
Mallaiyuran / September 17, 2015
While the criminal family’s vacation photos, of spending their luxury past time on the looted wealth on beautiful beaches, were inundating the web, many Tamils stayed awake with palpitating hearts most of the last night to find out about this report. But this is not the plight of the victims. This is only the plight of the victims’ relatives. When I got up in the morning and browsed through, basically no news had started to come from the UNHRC about the OISL report. Finally it is out. But,this is not what Tamils looked forward or expected from UNHRC.
The Sankilyan Kingdom which was taken over by Portuguese in 1624 with the help of Sinhala Mercenaries was handed over to Sinhala Buddhist Extremist in 1948, more than three centuries later. The first important legislation passed by that extremist’s parliament in 1948 was Indian Pakistani Citizenship act. The eventual Sinhala Intellectual Governments following that path has taken the country through many steps to reach todays’ high point. This is not the climax. Best (or worst) is yet to come. Sinhala Only Act, Pogroms, Emergency declaration, Pacts tearing, Standardization, colonization, forceful conversion, forced out to refugee seeking, opposition Tamil leader impeachment, two Sinhala Only constitutions, 6th amendment, Jaffna Library arson, white van kidnapping, Grease Monster, selling the country to super powers for personal commission, Divinegumba, Dismissal of Shiranee Bandaranake…………. 2009 open Genocide war……. Well that is lot of steps and lot of land mark stops the Sinhala Intellectual has passed to reach Today’s high point that is the International accusation of war crime…….Still, this not the end, but a high point in the drama. Yet whether he/she is a Sinhala Intellectuals or man/woman with common sense has not started to figure out “what, where and when” was the start of this self-destructive madness of the Sinhala Intellectual Goverments.
Tamils have been seeking justice for long time from international community. But the start was not justice for them, justice for those who eventually destroyed them and forced them to seek international Justice for them too. 1915 Sir.Pon Ramanathan went to England to seek justice. But it was not about the Tamils. But it was the only one not for Tamils. They were success in that, but not after that, not until now. 1928 and 1944 they appealed to Donomore and Soulbury Commission without any success to obtain redress. They appealed to Privy Council on the Indian Pakistani act. They took Kodeswaran case in the 1960s to London. SJV appealed at Colombo to the Non-aligned countries in 1976. Amerithalingam went to Massachusetts. TULF went to India. India came in to stop JR. Piraphakaran went to Thimbu. Donor countries USA, Japan, EU and Norway worked over a 4.5 Billion deal in the start of the century. LTTE went to Oslo. International Eminent Persons Group came to Lankawe. In 2009, twenty nations supported to war in promise to solve Tamils Problem. At that Time Chandrika’s agent Kathirgamar, who was killed by his unfaithful masters, had campaigned in west that the LTTE is the one blocking any solution for Tamils to get implemented. May 2009 UNSG, Ban ki Moon came in and obtained a promise. 2009’s UNHRC resolution offered support to solve the problem and praised the war as it had eliminated the impediment. Indian FM Krishna came in back as India’s agent. Robert Blake took it to America. Secretary Kerry came to Lankawe. Justice still not comes forth for the Tamil for Freedom and their land they lost to Portuguese in 1624.
The Justice has not come yet. But the crime that was done (and being done) to Tamils has been partially accepted. End of the UNHRC sitting of 30th, it has to release what steps it is taking to bring the justice. It means another few more palpitating days. Let’s wait and see!
RipVan W / September 17, 2015
There are no doubt many numbers in this report.
Prof M Roberts is already working on these and will soon show that they are wrong.
Let us wait.
As we will.
Mallaiyuran / September 17, 2015
High Commissioner, Prince Zeid, pointed at the crimes committed during the 2009 war. But it did not pointed at the proper parties to investigate it. The meaning of this for Tamils is, “Kaikku Eddiyathu vaaikkau eddavillai”. (The luck that came up the hand did not last until it go up to the mouth.)The hybrid mechanism of UN has it failed history. Cambodia has been cited as the classic example of the weakness of the procedure. All the wayfrom the time of the war and UNSG request to Lanka Old King directly to investigate, the Tamils have been opposing the Lankawe’s local investigation.
Prince Zaied invoked defense of the claim of change taken in the government. The truth is there is no change in the government. There is no change the party ruling the country. There no change in the personnel manning the government. There is no change in the mentality of acceptance of the crime. There is no change in the new International Investigation proposed to the contrast with the old ones.
The SLFP is still on the EP chair. The war crime defense minister, who claimed he who is the one killed most of the rebel leaders, is the one preceding the government. In fact, it is under his oversight last fourteen days, that is the days after LTTE was completely wiped another two weeks ago, of unnecessary wars was carried out on the civilians. The hypocrisy New King condemned the old king for nepotism and now he is practicing the same. He claimed that he has a file on the old King but have not brought it out to investigation. The prime minister is the one proclaimed that he who protected the forces by not allowing the Rome Statute inside the country. He went to New York and asked UNSG to tear off the Expert Panel’s report. The last January, when the election for new president was on the way, all the parties on the common candidate explicitly pledged that there will not be an Internal or External Investigation on any leader, on any commander or on any soldier. This promise was repeated by the Presidential Candidate, the current Prime minister and the current Foreign Minister. The current president’s war crimes are some allegation yet to be investigated. The prime minister’s cheating and ugly foxy deals have been keeping him out of power for twenty years. He still could not manage to go to EP. All the original UNPers had abandoned him and went UPFA because of the mistrust on him. The current foreign minister is the one went and paid money to LTTE with the secret plot of wiping them with the war crime. The credibility of the team is further affected by appointing the same old war crime time ministers to the cabinet again. Number of the ministers in the cabinet is outright violation of the 19 amendment. The amendment prohibits ministers exceeding 30. Then the loophole in the amendment is used to expand the cabinet. Even that is not in lawful way. The amendment is allowing the number to be increased if a national government is formed. Two parties, UNP and UPFA formed a government and called it “National Government”. Even in those two parties there, is no real agreement. The UPFA alliance parties are not accepting the National Government. They want the opposition leadership. The matters have to be observed here is not a majority decision within the UPFA to contribute to National Government. Its dissentient members’ claim for the opposition leadership is the one taken to care. They have the full potential to take over the opposition. If that ever happen, irrelevant of full UPFA or dissentient members only, the notions of “National Government” evaporates because if one Sinhala unit becomes the opposition, then the “National Government” will be a fraudulent claim. The court will order to cut down the cabinet and not use the loophole. This will make the UPFA ministers who put up with UNP, to leave it. The basic truth is there are some members join the government for minister Posts, rather than the cabinet was expanded because a true national government is formed. In that condition, any kind of parsing of the new government by the UNHRC High Commissioner is baseless. So, when the new government is not worthy for any credits, he is assigning it for a hybrid investigation is dangerous and defeating of the finding in the OISL.
This government is not the natural selection of the Lankawe’s people. TNA was forced to support the CC. When the CC party candidate and entourage went to Jaffna and attempted give speech against Leader Prabhakaran, the Tamil mass misunderstood the language and started to cheer thinking the Sinhala leaders were praising the LTTE leader. It is those anti Sinhala votes, now have selected the New King as the president. It was a real cheating of the people’s opinion and trust. It is not simply this government has a bogus “National Government” phenomena and unlawful cabinet; it is not a legitimate democratic government at all.
To get this government elected, the OISL report was delayed purposefully. That is, it is not just justice for the Tamils were denied by delaying the OISL report, Sinhala mass was fooled too to make them select this government. If this report was out as it was due on March 2015, this government will not be in power. If an election is held today, just one month after this government was elected; this government will not be able to come back to power because of the OISL report. In other word, currently this government is holding the power against will of the Sinhala people who selected it to rule. In another word, if this government wants to show an atom of honesty in its conduct, first thing it should do is, instead of conducting an internal investigation, it should resign and stand in front of Sinhala People for another mandate to convene the government. Yes! Without a doubt, this is an illegitimate government. Handing over that kind of serious matters found in the OISL report is itself is illegal.
From the day one of freedom, Lankawe is yet to have to form a stable government. DS immediately after taking over the government changed the structure of the constituents of it. It created turmoil. In fact that was the reason SWRD leaving the UNP and winning the election. Then the entire land boiled and pogroms burst out. SWRD was murdered. SLFP came to power under Sirima. The attempted coup shook the country. Then the SLFP-UNP, SLFP-UNP switching game started. JVP insurrection appeared. Countless youths were murdered. Foreign countries sent the troops to protect the government leaders. This was the reason Rajiv latter sent the full force. Government was scared of coup again. The Old constitution was rejected and two times it was changed. JR government was plagued with pogroms. North-East Freedom fight started. Social unrest was in the South and North – East. Premadasa murdered again a large number of youths in south. Draconian laws brought in. 6th amendment was passed. Emergency regulation invoked infinitely. Now, that is the norm of the life, whether it was there or no. POTA laws came in. War came. When the war was over, the wartime commanders were sent out as ambassadors because of the fear of army coup. Even though JR, Premadasa & Old and King like Nazis ruled the country with iron fist hand, country in constant turmoil. Economical and democratic index of International standing of the country is keep rolling down ever from the day it received freedom. In the middle of the monstrous and mountainous mismanagement of the country, without taking enough time to observe any changes, praising the government and handing over the inquiry is absurd. Exactly it was this absurdity UNHRC did in the 2009 may special resolution and got put back on the inquiry until now.
Time is still not too late. The Month end has not come to wound up the 30th sitting. It is high time for UNHRC to remove the recommendation from the OISL report.
Pygmalion / September 17, 2015
At which point of time was Dr.Michael Roberts bought over to contradict Gordon Weiss and Francis Harrison?
From History he seems to have strayed into Mathematics and Statistics,Numerical analysis etc!
Or is it because having schooled at St.ALOYSIUS-GALLE,he needs to rally round MaRa?
Agnos / September 17, 2015
When Mr. Hussein postponed the release of this report at the request of Sirisena/Wickremasinghe, many an HR activist thought it was a delaying tactic to soft pedal and suppress it.
But Hussein gave an iron-clad guarantee of publishing this report after 6 months, and I was one of those who said take him at his word and hold him to it. All those who care about justice should now thank him for keeping his word.
When Ms. Navi Pillay was the UNHRC chief and she was firm, the Rajapaksas and fellow chauvinists brought up her Indian Tamil ancestry, despite her being a South African, to denigrate her as being partial to the Tamil side. Now that Prince Hussein has shown he is even firmer than Ms. Pillay–he has a refreshing directness that one doesn’t normally see in UN officials and diplomats–it should make it clear that attacks on her were baseless.
It will be hard now for the US to push for a purely domestic investigation in the face of a clear, well-reasoned indictment of the domestic judicial process and call for a hybrid one. But no matter what type of investigation the GoSL agrees to ( with the concurrence of the US), this report will become a key plank in the search for justice for all communities in Sri Lanka. The victims, the NPC as well as activists the world over can take some solace from it.
Naga / September 17, 2015
It is highly unlikely that Sri Lanka will agree to the setting up of hybrid tribunal to try those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the last stages of the Eelam war.
Ranil-Maithri government will not have the courage to establish such a tribunal to try Sri Lankan soldiers accused of war crimes. Mahinda led opposition for any trial of the SL soldiers will scuttle all attempts to set up even a purely domestic tribunal.
In the past, hybrid tribunals were set up to deal with situations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and East Timor. Except for the Sierra Leone tribunal, other tribunals were not seen as very successful.
In these countries, these hybrid tribunals were established mainly because there were no existing domestic court systems capable of handling these trials. In most of these countries the domestic judicial system had broken down. One main reason for the establishment of these hybrid tribunals was the lack of properly trained domestic judges and the other important reason was that the domestic judges were not expected to conduct impartial trials. Ethnicity was another important reason for the establishment of hybrid tribunals in Kosovo and East Timor with Serbs dominating in Kosovo and Indonesians dominating in East Timor. Further, legitimacy of the national judiciary was highly diminished since most of the judges were associated with the former governments in power. One good example of governmental bias is the case of Cambodia where all the judges and prosecutors belonged to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (Communist Party). They were all Communist Party cadres owing allegiance to Prime Minister Hun Sen. A further problem in the case of Cambodia was that it did not have a developed system of law after 1975. The Khmer Rouge which took control of the country in April 1975 destroyed the French judicial system that existed until then and killed all the judges, prosecutors and lawyers. After Vietnamese Army invaded and enthroned a puppet regime under Hun Sen in January 1979, they introduced the Vietnamese communist laws. It was during the time of the United Nations Transitional Authority (UNTAC) after 1993 that a number of basic laws including criminal law mainly based on the common law were introduced. However, the Cambodian judges who continued to function did not have a good grasp of these new laws based on common law as against the communist law brought in by the Vietnamese and the civil law that existed in Cambodia during the French colonial period.
Hybrid nature of the composition of these tribunals will lead to conflict of opinions among the domestic and foreign judges making these tribunals unworkable at times. In the case of Cambodian Tribunal, in order to avoid these conflicts, the preliminary investigation is handled by co-prosecutors consisting of a domestic prosecutor and a foreign prosecutor. With Cambodia following the French system of law, the preliminary investigation is also conducted jointly by co-investigating judges. The Cambodian Tribunal trial chamber consists of five judges, three Cambodians and two foreign judges and any decision requires the affirmative vote of four of the five judges.
In the case of the Sri Lankan situation, none of the reasons discussed above except perceived bias applies. The reason argued in the report for foreign judges and prosecutors is to build public confidence and to make it acceptable to the Tamils who have lost faith in the Sri Lanka judiciary dominated by Sinhala judges.
I believe that in all likelihood the hybrid tribunals recommended by High Commissioner Zeid may not eventuate.
Uthungan / September 17, 2015
It may be that SL would not agree to set up a hybrid tribunal because of MaRa and his capacity to scuttle.
So the alternative is to not expect quick results to attain the desired goal,but that does NOT mean to be satisfied with small mercies and advantages, but to keep going till the result is obtained.
It is a case of being friendly but not being intimate.
The task is to scale the ladder but limited to being unable ascend into the sky.