TNA wants foreign judges for domestic war crimes probe

Welcomes new Constitution, calls for maximum devolution

by Zacki Jabbar

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday called for the inclusion of foreign judges in the proposed independent domestic investigation into allegations of war crimes against Sri Lanka and the LTTE.

M.A.-SumanthiranDeputy General Secretary of the TNA, M. A. Sumanthiran MP, speaking to The Island over the telephone from Geneva, while the 30th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council was on, said that only international participation in Sri Lanka’s accountability process would make it truly independent and credible.

Asked if the TNA had no confidence in the pledges given by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, he replied, “Due to experiences with previous administrations, the people doubt if words would be translated into action. The victims of rights abuses also do not have confidence in the Sri Lankan judiciary. So, the best possible arrangement would be for respected foreign judges to be made part of our domestic inquiry thereby conforming to international standards.”

Sumanthiran said there were also issues such as disappearances and political prisoners that had to be dealt with.

fonseka_mahinda_gotabhayaOnly some of the lands in the north had been returned to its rightful owners even though over six years had elapsed since the war had ended.

Asked whom he referred to by ‘people’ and ‘victims’,Sumanthiran said he was not talking about just the Tamils, but all Sri Lankans whose human rights had been violated. “Allegations of rape torture, murder have to be inquired into by an independent tribunal or the victims won’t have any faith in the process.”

Welcoming Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s pledge to the UNHRC sessions yesterday that a political settlement to the ethnic issue would be found through the enactment of a new constitution, he expressed the hope that it would include maximum devolution within a unitary state