Wigneswaran calls on council to adopt victim-centred transitional approach

Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V Wigneswaran called on the council to work for a resolution that fully adopts the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and allows a victim-centred transitional approach to the accountability and reconciliation process.

Writing a guidance note to the drafters of the upcoming consensus resolution on Sri Lanka and to member states of the UN Human Rights Council, the Chief Minister underscored five themes that would need to be sufficiently addressed in the resolution.

Following are excerpts of his statement;

“It is vital to note that a significant proportion of its victims are scattered around the world including many thousands still languishing in refugee camps in India. Furthermore it must be noted that these diaspora victims played a vital role in providing evidence to the OISL investigation due to the non-co-operation of the previous Sri Lankan regime and systematic intimidation and threats potential survivors and witnesses to Human Rights violations were subjected to within Sri Lanka.

“Therefore, any mechanism for achieving accountability and justice require transnational arrangements via the United Nations, especially in the context of states which do not adhere to universal jurisdiction and/or enabling domestic legislation towards addressing ‘international crimes’, to request the surrender of suspects in third states.

“While we share the hopes and aspirations as all communities, as the community which was frequently at the receiving end of the political reversals within Sri Lanka we wish to strongly emphasize the need to impress upon Sri Lanka the need to adapt a time bound action plan towards accountability.

Furthermore, we wish to emphasize while the new government and its stated pronouncements are a welcome development, our own collective memory, experience and the lessons from other contemporary examples such as Myanmar reinforce the need for the international community not to be complacent with regime changes as long entrenched structural causes of the protracted conflict of not disappear overnight and may in fact continue to impact well into the future.

“International community must bear greater responsibility towards implementing alternative mechanisms to expedite the process of accountability and justice by adopting context specific international principles and best practises including international judges and process of international standard. In this regard the full implementation of the 13th amendment in the original spirit and word as it was intended in the Indo-Lanka accord and the issues highlighted in the letter submitted by then Tamil United Front Leaders (TULF) on 28 October l9B7 to the Indian Prime Minister, is a vital first step towards evolving a more comprehensive and meaningful devolution through constitutional reforms.

In this regard the recommendations of UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff on Sri Lanka should be adhered to. Such mechanisms should be set up with the assistance of the International Community preferably through an internationally supervised process taking into account that many victims are based in nations outside of Sri Lanka.

In this backdrop taken into consideration the gravity of allegations facing the perpetrators, lessons from other international examples and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court we wish to strongly advise against any moves towards affording amnesty to those who bear the responsibility for violations which fall into the category of ‘international Crimes’. Furthermore if non-recurrence of mass atrocities and the creation of a new human rights culture is of prime motivation it is vital that the cycle of impunity is brought to an end through effective prosecution of those who are accused of international crimes’. It is the least we could do to the Victims.

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