Tamil groups insist on hybrid mechanism to probe Sri Lanka abuses

Sri Lanka’s Tamil political parties on Tuesday demanded that the investigation into the alleged rights abuses during the conflict with the LTTE be carried out under a “hybrid mechanism” as a domestic probe will not address their concerns.

At least four Tamil political parties and several other civil society groups called for the return to the original hybrid judicial mechanism proposed in the UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s report.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein had called for a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators to probe the alleged rights abuses during the civil war that ended in 2009.

In a statement, the groups claimed Sri Lankan government appointing foreign judges to a local mechanism will not address the structural factors that inhibit the local systems.

A resolution to be moved by the U.S. on Wednesday in Geneva seeks to back a local mechanism with judges from the Commonwealth with foreign investigators — in contrast to Mr. Al Hussein’s report.

The Tamil groups said the resolution seeks to dilute the seriousness of the required investigation.

“We note with deep regret that in the interest of arriving at a consensus resolution with Sri Lanka that many key components of the initial draft have been omitted”.

It contains a number of strong provisions but will need to be thoroughly implemented for victims to obtain genuine justice.

Rights groups claim that the Sri Lankan military killed 40,000 civilians in the final months of the three decade-long brutal ethnic conflict with the separatists Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

In a statement New York-based Human Rights Watch said: “This resolution makes it clear the time has come for the Sri Lankan government to act.

“The resolution’s endorsement of a judicial mechanism with international participation is an important recognition of the need for an international role to ensure justice for victims.”