President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (2) said that the country had achieved a great victory at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by managing to exclude the ‘electric chair’, an international investigation, and a hybrid special court from being included in the United States sponsored resolution.
Addressing the media for the first time since his return from Geneva, the President outlined that the resolution was a suggestion and not an order.
He added that there would only be a domestic mechanism, which would be implemented within the provisions of the Sri Lankan Constitution, without impinging on the sovereignty of the nation, unity and peace.
He added that the previous administration had deliberately squandered goodwill with international powers.
Apart from giving compensation to those affected by the war along with giving houses and lands to those who had lost them during the war, the President explained that the civil administration in the North and East would be strengthened.
The President said that a special local legal board would be established, adding that both members of the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadres with allegations of human rights violations against them would be given an opportunity to present their cases.
The President added that he would soon be convening discussions with political party leaders along with a summit with religious leaders, intellectuals and expatriates with regards to sharing ideas and recommendations concerning the resolution.
He emphasized that although alleged war crimes had taken place during the previous regime, it was now the sole responsibility of the incumbent government to ensure that the burden would not be handed down to those taking over the reins in the future.
“We will follow a policy of non-violence in the future. I thank Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the Cabinet and diplomats for their efforts. There were economic embargos in the form of Generalized Scheme of Preferences being revoked on apparels and the European Union ban on fisheries imports. Internationally adhered to principles such as truth seeking, justice, reparation and non-recurrence need to be followed.
Property and lives were also destroyed in Colombo and the South during the war. We will implement what is acceptable in the Darusman report and the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, Udalagama Commission and the Paranagama and Desmond De Silva Commission reports. We will follow a moderate policy with regards to the implementation of the mechanism and if there are issues that arise as per the opinion of the public and the country’s culture we will take up the matters again with the UNHRC and the Secretary General of the United Nations. I will not be taking arbitrary decisions but will work in consultation.
I take pity on those who accused us of being stooges of the West and of conspiring with overseas intelligence agencies. Thirty-seven powerful pro Eelam organizations opposed the resolution. We must be mindful of these situations and conditions too. We have proven in the past eight months that we intend to establish democracy, good governance and promote peace and reconciliation and that we will continue to do so. We will not allow the country to be divided,” President Sirisena assured.