Consensus to be Key for India’s Support

mahinda winnerNEW DELHI: With Sri Lanka rejecting the US draft resolution on human rights violations and war crimes in the Island nation, it is reliably learnt that India will support a resolution, which has the ‘widest possible consensus.’

“India will support anything which is not divisive, which has the widest possible consensus,” sources told Express.

When asked if it meant that India will support a resolution with which the Maithripala Sirisena government was comfortable, sources said that if Colombo agreed to a text, then it would mean that there was consensus with countries like even China and Russia also coming on board.

When Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on September 15 in Delhi, there was a discussion on developments in Geneva. “He (Wickremesinghe) told our PM that Sri Lanka does not want a resolution that is prescriptive,” said sources familiar with the talks.

At that time the initial draft had not been circulated, but Wickremesinghe’s language was echoed in the language used by Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Geneva, Ravintha Aryasinha, who bluntly rejected the draft tabled by the US. He termed the first draft as being ‘repetitive, judgmental and prescriptive’ and not in ‘spirit of reconciliation.’

chinaIndia is not yet actively involved in proposing text changes, as many more drafts are expected before the finalized text is tabled on September 30. “We usually get deeply involved in the last days of the process,” sources added.

The report of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights  on Sri Lanka released on September 17, had called for setting up ‘hybrid courts’, but that too has not gone down well with Sri Lanka. The draft had called ‘On the Sri Lankan government” to involve “International investigators, prosecutors and Judges in Sri Lanka’s justice process” to investigate war crimes.  While the draft was not using the term ‘Hybrid Court’ as suggested by the UNHRC, the interpretation was being made on the same lines.

According to sources, ‘Hybrid Court’ does not necessarily mean an international mechanism, especially if it is one the lines of being chaired by a Sri Lankan judge and the majority in the bench are Sri Lankans. Sri Lanka have said that they are willing to take “assistance” from international partners including the office of the Human Rights Commissioner for its mechanism.

Besides the suggestion of ‘Hybrid court,’ Lanka had also objection to monitoring of the investigation by OHCHR, setting up an office of OHCHR in Colombo and “criminalization of past acts”.

In March 2014, India had abstained from voting on a resolution sponsored by the US that called for a comprehensive international probe describing it as “counterproductive” and “impractical”. It was the first time that India had abstained in three years – having voted in favour of resolutions in UNHRC in 2012 and 2013, which indicted Sri Lanka.

Intl Probe into Tamil Killings Sought

Chennai: The MDMK, VCK, Thamizhar Vazhvurimai Katchi and other Tamil outfits on Monday held protest demonstrations and rail blockades urging India to table a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council for an international criminal probe into the genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils following the findings of a UN rights and war crimes enquiry panel. The protests coincided with the demonstration in front of the UN headquarters in Geneva held by the Tamil diaspora from several European nations including Britain, Germany, France and Switzerland. MDMK and VCK held demonstrations throughout the State, while the Thamizh Vazhvurimai Katchi tried to block trains at several places.