Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has rejected the UN Human Rights Council’s demand for foreign involvement in the judicial mechanism to be set up to investigate and try war crimes charges against the Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
“I will never agree to international involvement in this matter. We have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues,” Sirisena told the Sinhalese service of the BBC on Thursday.
“This investigation should be internal and indigenous, without violating the laws of the country,” he explained.
Asked when the court might be set up, he said: “These things cannot be done instantly or in a hurried manner. We will certainly reach our target but it’s a process.”
At the September 2015 session of the UNHRC, the Lankan government and the US had jointly pledged to set up a “hybrid” mechanism comprising Lankan and foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators. As per the set plan, Colombo is to present an oral report on the implementation of the resolution in June this year, and a full written report in September.
But till now, there has been no move to set up such a judicial mechanism, though a local NGO with Western links is said to be working on a format. Some consultations are also talking place..
During a recent visit, the British Minister for Asia, Hugo Swire, had warned that Lanka should not treat the report to be presented in June as a “cosmetic exercise.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, is to visit Lanka in February to put pressure on Colombo to pull itself by the bootstraps.