Prior to 2015 the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera who was then in the Opposition had joined hands and met several Tamil diaspora organizations abroad to seek their support to overthrow the Mahinda Rajapakse regime. They even succeeded significantly in gaining the support of some of the prominent Tamil diapsora organizations such as the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and British Tamil Forum (BTF) in ‘torpedoing’ the Rajapaksa regime.
So with the coalition of the TNA, the new government with the commitment of good governance in the country was formed with the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the new regime in return extended its support in making the TNA the main Opposition party in Parliament.
The ‘honeymoon’ between the government and the TNA even led to several significant developments in strengthening the reconciliation process including Sri Lanka becoming a co-sponsor of the resolution brought out in the UNHRC on improving the human rights situation and probing into the alleged atrocities committed during the Rajapaksa regime.
As Sri Lanka agreed upon on several aspects with other countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom which had co- sponsored the UNHRC resolution on creating a hybrid judicial mechanism with the inclusion of Commonwealth and other international legal luminaries to investigate into the alleged war crimes committed during the final phase of the war has now popped up as a challenging issue with President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe rejecting any form of foreign involvement in the investigation.
As the TNA leader
R. Sampanthan urging the government to stand by the UNHRC resolution which was adopted in September last year, the back tracking of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe from the commitment made in probing the alleged war crimes investigation in the resolution is likely to be a thorny issue in strengthening the reconciliation process in the country.
According to the TNA, Parliamentarian Sumanthiran, he had clearly briefed the officials in Washington on the failures by the government in implementing the UNHRC resolution during his stay in the US last week.
Sumanthiran had also travelled to Geneva from Washington and he had a lengthy meeting with the UNHRC Chief and briefed him in detail on the government’s failure in implementing the resolution adopted in September last year.
On his return to the island a few days ago Sumanthiran said the UNHRC Chief was even disappointed over the failure in implementing the resolution as it was agreed upon with the co-sponsorship of the government.
In the backdrop of Sumanthiran returning from Washington and Geneva, Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran at a meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Jaffna two days ago had reiterated his stance on calling for an international investigation into the alleged war crimes in the island.
Wigneswaran also told the EU delegation that being a key figure in the legal fraternity, it was disheartening for him to note the recent statements made by the government backtracking on the commitments it made by co-sponsoring the UNHRC resolution on accountability, justice and reconciliation in the island.
As far as the international community’s concerns on the alleged war crimes are concerned, it is important to note a German Court last week had sentenced 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning to five years imprisonment for being a Nazi SS guard at the Auschwitz gas chamber where 170, 000 Jews were killed by poison gas.
According to the German court judgment the convict Reinhold was in his early twenties. Reinhold had served only as a Nazi SS guard at Auschwitz and his presence there was also considered as part of the holocaust.
So the judgment on the 94-year-old former Nazi SS guard has highlighted that even 60 years after the end of World War II, justice has been delivered to the satisfaction of thousands of Jews who had escaped the Nazi atrocities and still living to see the justice is done to them.
In recent years even Bangladesh had punished several persons in the country for their involvement in the war crimes during the Bangladesh independence struggle in 1971.
Since there is no trace of hundreds of persons after their surrender to the Security Forces at the end of the civil war in 2009, those who were in power in that particular period will be responsible for the disappearances and other form of alleged human rights violations and war crimes.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera who was in Oslo two days ago to attend a conference calling for an end to the implementation of the death sentence met the UNHRC Chief Prince Zeid Raa’s Al Hussein who was a distinguished participant at the Oslo conference.
With the presentation of Foreign Minister Samaraweera’s submission on the implementation of the UNHRC resolution brought in September last year on Sri Lanka in Geneva, the UNHRC Chief Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is expected to present his verbal submissions on his findings in implementing the UNHRC resolution along with the first hand information he collected during his tour in Sri Lanka in February, on 29 June.
While expressing his views on the positive and the negative aspects of implementing the UNHRC resolution in Sri Lanka during his verbal submissions, the UNHRC Chief is also in a compelling state of displaying his elite form of diplomacy in guiding the country towards greater reconciliation.