The Tamil diaspora have backed the recommendations made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in his report on Sri Lanka and urged the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution calling for the full implementation of the recommendations.
The London based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said it welcomes the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report that strongly indicated war crimes and crimes against humanity were most likely committed by both sides to the conflict and recommended the establishment of an internationalised Special Court for criminal prosecution.
GTF noted that the violations revealed in the report, characterised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, as “among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole”, makes a harrowing reading, presenting evidence of horrific level of abuses suffered by the Tamil civilians at the hands of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, including indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, denial of humanitarian assistance, ill treatment of IDPs, torture and sexual violence.
GTF is in full agreement with the report, which stated, “A purely domestic court procedure will have no chance of overcoming widespread and justifiable suspicions fueled by decades of violations, malpractice and broken promises,“ and supports the establishment of a “hybrid” Special Court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators.
“Member states must ensure that the forthcoming resolution at the UNHRC clearly articulates the need to include substantial participation of international personnel at each stage of the investigation and trial process. We are grateful to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (both past and present), his staff and all who contributed for the important work that went into producing this report. Undoubtedly, this whole exercise, the three UNHRC resolutions passed between 2012 and 2014 and the OHCHR investigation and report, restores confidence in the UN system as a whole to all communities and particularly to the Tamil community,” GTF said.
GTF calls the member states of the UNHRC to adopt a resolution that captures all the recommendations of the OHCHR report, including establishing a Special Court, and call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fully cooperate.
The US based Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) also congratulated the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for his thorough and comprehensive report.
“We also congratulate the High Commissioner for his bold rejection of the proposal to set up a domestic mechanism to deal with allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka, even one that was aspiring for “international standards” or functioning with the “technical and financial assistance” from the international community,” TGTE said.
TGTE said it welcomes the High Commissioner’s recommendation to establish a full-fledged country presence of the OHCHR and proposing the visit of the special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparations and guarantee of non-recurrence and the relevant special representative of Secretary General.
TGTE urged the Human Rights Council to accept the findings in the High Commissioner’s report as a way of securing the credibility of the Council which is also at stake today, as pointed out by him in his opening remarks.
However the TGTE believes that a hybrid court cannot succeed in Sri Lanka because the government does not have the will to deliver justice and a conducive environment does not exist there to enact such a mechanism. (Colombo Gazette)