Amnesty International has written to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) ahead of its 23rd session beginning on May 27, calling for a credible and independent international investigation into allegations of crimes under international law committed by Sri Lankan government forces and allied armed groups as well as the LTTE.
The human rights group says investigation should be conducted in accordance with international standards and, where sufficient admissible evidence is found, lead to the criminal prosecution of individuals found responsible in full conformity with international standards for fair trial.
It also called for the strengthening of UN measures to prevent intimidation or reprisals by or tolerated by the Sri Lankan government against individuals who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.
Amnesty International has also called for stronger action, including at the UN Human Rights Council’s 24th Session, if by 1 September 2013 the Government of Sri Lanka has still not taken substantial real measures for accountability and ended systematic attacks on freedom of expression, association and assembly.
In the letter, Amnesty International also urged the government to publicly acknowledge that human rights violations have been committed against individuals exercising their right to freedom of expression, and demonstrate unequivocally that such attacks and threats, harassment, and intimidation will not be tolerated, regardless of the opinions such individuals hold and express, and regardless of the rank or political affiliation of the suspected perpetrator.
“Ensure that all suspected perpetrators of crimes under international law are prosecuted in proceedings which comply with international standards for fair trial. Ensure that all attacks on individuals, irrespective of the identity of perpetrators or victims, are promptly, independently, impartially and effectively investigated. Those suspected of committing or complicity in attacks must be prosecuted in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards. Make public the report of the 2006 Commission of Inquiry on 16 serious violations of human rights, that includes the findings of investigations into the killing of five students in Trincomalee and the 17 ACF aid workers, and, as recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in February 2013, accept international assistance to resolve outstanding cases,” the letter said. (Colombo Gazette)