TNA parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran called for “Internationalised prosecutions” for mass atrocities committed in Sri Lanka, as part of an accountability process for the crimes.
Speaking at a panel discussion on Saturday hosted by the Global Tamils Forum (GTF) in London Mr Sumanthiran said the TNA had “no trust in a local judicial mechanism” which is why they are pushing for “internationalised prosecutions”. “One of the most important things is that victims of these crimes must have confidence in these courts and they will not have any confidence in a pure domestic system,” he added.
He stated that this strategy must run parallel with a long-term push for referral to the International Criminal Court, which he believes will eventually come with a “reformed Sri Lankan government”.
Considering ongoing challenges in Sri Lanka, Mr Sumanthiran emphasised the importance of security sector reform, but also the difficulty in achieving it. “The military is the same military, the Terrorist Investigation Department is the same people guilty of serious violations,” he said.
In response to a question concerning the LTTE, he stated the, “LTTE was a product of a problem of majoritarianism” and “the defeat of the LTTE cannot be agreed with because the means used to defeat the LTTE weren’t just to defeat the LTTE, they were to suppress the voice of the Tamil people once and for all.”
He also explained that the TNA was pursuing a dual strategy of both a political solution and accountability, as you could not have one without the other.
Mr Sumanthiran noted that the TNA’s leadership was given their mandate by the recent election and that this mandate included seeking a federal structure with maximum devolution of powers with a view to self-determination within a unitary state.
Suren Surendiran of the GTF made brief comments about the strategy of the 4-pillar strategy of his organisation to:
(1) Bring Tamil groups, not just in Sri Lanka, but also overseas into a common framework;
(2) Encourage the Sri Lankan community collective to live without discrimination on any grounds;
(3) Seek justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka through an international mechanism; and
(4) Help war-affected people in Sri Lanka through socio-economic means including through India.
Father Emmanuel closed off the panel by emphasising the importance of groups working together and supporting the push for accountability and a political solution.