Sri Lanka to have war crimes panel soon

Colombo: Days after the Human Rights Watch said that war crimes in Sri Lanka during their offensive against the LTTE will come under the HRW scanner, Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Thursday indicated that a domestic accountability mechanism would be in place before the 30 Session of the  United Nations Human Rights Council was scheduled to begin in September.

“We are working according to a timeline even now. I  think we will be able to meet the timeline,” Mr. Samaraweera told a press conference at the headquarters of the ruling United National Party (UNP) here.

Last week, United States Secretary of State John Kerry, in a talk in SL, called upon the Sri Lankan government to cooperate with the United Nations in exploring “the best way to mount a credible domestic investigation” into allegations of human rights abuses, “an investigation that meets international standards.”   

He also volunteered to furnish his country’s legal and technical assistance.

Pointing out that the constitution of the domestic mechanism was part of the electoral promise at the time of Presidential election and this was included in the 100 day programme, Mr. Samaraweera said the mechanism would be formulated with “international technical assistance.”   He added that a report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), to be tabled during the September session, could be referred to the Sri Lanka mechanism. He alleged that assets to the tune of 18 billion dollars were said to have been siphoned off by the family of Rajapaksa. 



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