Government insists will not violate Constitution in war probe

The Government today insisted that it will not violate the Constitution in the truth seeking or transitional justice process.

Justice Minister Wijeydasa Rajapaksha told Parliament today that calls for foreign judges to be included in the transitional justice process cannot be accepted.

He said that this message has been made clear to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The Minister said that having foreign judges will be a violation of existing Constitution and the Government will not violate the Constitution.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein had yesterday noted consistent failure to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish serious crimes appears to reflect a broader reluctance or fear to take action against members of the security forces.

He told the UNHRC yesterday that combined with a general lack of trust in the impartiality of the justice system regarding past violations, the continuing unwillingness or inability to address impunity reinforces the need for international participation in a judicial mechanism.

For this to be credible, he said should include a special counsel, foreign judges and defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.

The United States had also told the UNHRC Government statements against international participation in any future Sri Lankan judicial mechanism raise understandable concerns among victims and families about the integrity of any judicial process.

The US encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to make public a strategy and timetable for implementation of the reforms and commitments outlined in this Council’s Resolution 30/1.

The US said priorities should be reforming the constitution, operationalizing the Office of Missing Persons, passing new counter terrorism legislation, establishing a truth commission, continuing releases of military-occupied land, and implementing fully all outstanding international commitments. (Colombo Gazette)

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