Government accused of failing to probe crimes related to war

The Government has been accused of failing to investigate serious crimes related to the war.

Amnesty International said that while the Government has made some progress establishing mechanisms towards ensuring truth and reparation for victims, it has thus far failed to take effective measures towards investigating the alleged crimes and, where sufficient admissible evidence exists, prosecuting those accused of responsibility.

Amnesty International urged the government of Sri Lanka embark on its
commitments on justice and security sector reform to ensure effective remedies for
the victims and non-recurrence without further delay.

An investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and
related crimes by both parties to Sri Lanka’s armed conflict was undertaken by the
United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in
2014.

The report of the investigation published in 2015 sets out credible
allegations that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity were committed
by the Sri Lankan army, including enforced disappearance, torture, directing attacks
against civilian objects (including hospitals) and civilians not taking part in
hostilities, and extra-judicial killings of surrendering combatants.

In 2015 the Government of Sri Lanka co-sponsored United Nations Human Rights
Council resolution 30/1 which called for “effective security sector reforms as part
of its transitional justice process” and endorsed the Sri Lankan Government’s proposal “to establish a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law.”

Amnesty International noted that the serious allegations against Major General Shavendra Silva, who has been appointed as Chief of Staff of the Sri Lankan Army, highlight the urgent need for thorough, impartial, independent and effective criminal investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflict.

Vetting of military personnel is furthermore needed as an important feature of postwar security sector reform to guarantee against future violations, Amnesty International said.

As the Commander of the 58th division of Sri Lanka Army during the final phase of
the armed conflict in 2009, Major General Silva oversaw the division during a period
in which it was alleged to have committed violations of international humanitarian
law and international human rights law.

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