Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today reiterated his concerns over the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva recently.
Rajapaksa told members of the clergy at the Abeyrama Temple that there are many dangerous operative paragraphs in the resolution, three of which are the most serious and unacceptable.
“According to operative paragraph 6 of the Geneva resolution the government has agreed to establish a judicial mechanism to try war crimes. They have also agreed to the participation of foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers in that judicial mechanism. What this means in effect is the setting up of an entirely new parallel criminal justice system in this country outside the existing system. According to operative paragraph 4 of the Geneva resolution, the Sri Lankan government has already agreed to allow these mechanisms that are to be set up to ‘deal with the past’ to obtain financial assistance from foreign countries. What this means is that the mechanisms that will be set up to look into allegations of war crimes and other matters will be paid for and maintained by the Western powers,” he said.
Rajapaksa says if the Geneva resolution is implemented, the countries that sponsored resolutions against Sri Lanka in the Human Rights Council, will be the same countries that provide funding for the judicial mechanisms set up under that resolution and who provide the judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers to man those mechanisms.
“The involvement of foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers implies the creation of a new criminal justice system parallel to the existing one. I am totally opposed to any such arrangement. I regard that very suggestion to be an insult to our courts system, legal profession, Attorney General’s Department and investigative bodies,” he added.
He also said that through operative paragraph 8 of the Geneva resolution, the government has already agreed to remove from office members of the army suspected of having committed human rights violations through an ‘administrative process’ even if there is no evidence against him that can be placed before a court of law.
Rajapaksa says the government has co-sponsored the Geneva resolution without considering its implications and without informing parliament and appraising the people about it.
“The laws will be changed in this manner for the sole purpose of punishing our war heroes. Changing the constitution itself to punish the war heroes who brought an end to terrorism which had been stalking this land for forty years and which embroiled the country in a raging internal war for 30 years is a dastardly act. People belonging to all communities are now able to live in peace in this country because of the sacrifices made by our war heroes,” he added.
He also noted that one of the matters under discussion in Sri Lanka with regard to the CEPA agreement with India was the provision made for Indian professionals of all categories including lawyers to work in Sri Lanka.
“If the laws are amended as envisaged to punish our war heroes, one of the unintended consequences of that will be the opening up of the Sri Lankan legal profession to foreigners even without CEPA. If however, the law is changed only to punish our war heroes and after all the war heroes are jailed the laws are amended once again to restore the status quo ante, then it will become obvious to the people that this government amended the law only to punish our war heroes. That is not an acceptable situation at all,” he said.
Rajapaksa says the people should be vigilant about what some powerful forces are trying to achieve by jailing Sri Lanka’s war heroes, sacking through an administrative process those who cannot be jailed, and breaking the back of this nation. (Colombo Gazette)