Geneva: Lessons NOT Learnt


No government, representing Sri Lanka, in Geneva, has presented evidence challenging the allegations such as the killing of 40,000 civilians, the use of excessive force and the non-delivery of humanitarian aid to those held hostage by the LTTE in the conflict zone.

By Neville Ladduwahetty

The Island of January 23, 2020 reported that Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had stated ‘that the new government’s stand on the Geneva accountability resolution would be based on the position taken by former Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, PC. on behalf of the previous government …”

What the former Minister Marapana had stated during the course of his statement in March 2019 was:

“In referring to para 68 (C) of the OHCHR Report (A/HRC/40/23), which pertains to the Recommendations to GOSL, ‘to adopt legislation establishing a hybrid court to investigate allegation of violating and abuses of international law and violations of international humanitarian law’, I wish to make it clear that our position on this matter is as follows’:

“The government of Sri Lanka at the highest political levels has both publicly and in discussions with the present and former High Commissioner for Human Rights and other interlocutors, explained the constitutional and legal challenges that preclude it from including non-citizens in its judicial processes. It has been explained that if non-citizen judges are to be appointed in such a process, it will not be possible without an amendment to the Constitution by 2/3 of members of the Parliament voting in favour and also the approval of the people at a referendum”.

How the present government proposes to use the statement made by former Minister Marapana is not known at this time. However, what needs to be recognized is that the statement of former Minister Marapana is limited to a single issue of the “constitutional and legal challenges” associated with the participation of “non-citizen judges” in a judicial process to address allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws.

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