Sri Lanka to take consent of TNA and war crimes victims on judicial mechanism

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said that the nature and structure of the Judicial Mechanism meant to try cases of war crimes will be decided only after consultations with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the organizations representing the victims.

Speaking at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo, Samaraweera said: “ There is a certain degree of controversy on how it should be set up and the level of international participation. That will be decided after the consultations are over but all I can say now is whatever we decide upon, we will and must have the approval of the victims. This is not an exercise to please ourselves. So the final contours of the architecture of the courts we are hoping to set up will be in discussion especially with parties like the TNA or other groups which represent the victims.”

On setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the Lankan Minister said: “ We have been working with the government of South Africa about their experiences in the setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Of course, we aren’t guided by the South African model of the TRC because we feel that a model based on confession and forgiveness is not what Sri Lankans want. Many of them want justice. So we are working out the contours of not only the TRC but what should come afterwards, the setting up of the special courts.”

Samaraweera further said that Lanka has ratified the Convention on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances and the enabling legislation will be presented to the cabinet the moment he returns to Lanka in July.

“Hopefully that will confine to the pages of history, the white van culture of terror (through abductions), that we had earlier,” he added.