Former US ambassador calls for 'time frame and benchmarks' on accountability in Sri Lanka

Stephen Rapp, former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice, called for a clear "time frame and benchmarks" for Sri Lanka to implement its "commitments to accountability" in a press release issued this week. “ From discussions this week in Geneva it was clear that there is a consensus among Member States in favor of reaffirming the mandate for full compliance with the transitional justice provisions of Resolution 30/1 while providing Sri Lanka with more time to achieve compliance,” said Mr Rapp. “I therefore urge that Member States in...

Former Sri Lankan army commander complicit in torture - ITJP

Jegath Jayasuriya, a former Sri Lankan army commander and the government's current Ambassador to Brazil, is alleged to be complicit in the torture that took place at the Joseph Camp in Vavuniya between August 2007 and mid-July 2009, according to a report released by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITPJ). The report, launched this week, describes the many incidents of torture at the Joseph Camp – formally known as Vanni Security Force Headquarters. “Witnesses provided ITJP with searing testimony of torture in Joseph Camp that included rape with objects such as cricket wickets and...

No confidence in domestic mechanism – NPC

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution this week, stating that Sri Lanka had “not taken any meaningful steps for a credible justice process and an accountability mechanism that it had accepted, promised and committed to”. “The Government of Sri Lanka has not taken any meaningful steps to implement its own commitment to establish an impartial credible mechanism” said the NPC, noting that “the victimized Tamil people do not have any confidence on any domestic judicial mechanism that does not contain majority of foreign judges, lawyers, prosecutors and investigators”. The...

Protests held at several Malaysian Embassies in support of Lena Hendry

Photograph: Protest outside the Malaysian High Commission in London. Courtesy of Sri Lankan Campaign. Protests were held internationally in support of Lena Hendry this week – an activist who was convicted in Malaysia for screening “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” without the approval of the Malaysian ensorship Board. A press release issued by International Friends of Lena Hendry, stated that protests were held internationally at various Malaysian embassies such as in London and Zurich on March 9 th and in Colombo earlier today. Photograph: Protest outside the Malaysian High...

Sri Lankan constitution does not allow foreign judges – Mangala

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the island’s constitution does not allow foreign judges to participate in any accountability mechanisms, a key aspect of a 2015 resolution that Colombo co-sponsored. Speaking to the press in the southern capital, Mr Samaraweera reportedly said the inclusion of foreign judges as mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution “were in fact just a recommendation made by the international community when drafting the resolution,” according to the Daily Mirror. He was also quoted as saying, that “as a sovereign nation we are entitled to look...

Resolution on Sri Lanka tabled at UN Human Rights Council

A draft resolution calling on Sri Lanka to “implement fully” a previously co-sponsored UN resolution from 2015 has been tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, granting the government an extended period of a further two years to do so if passed. The new resolution, tabled by Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, welcomed “steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka” to implement the original agreed upon resolution which was passed in October 2015. However, it also...

Sri Lanka reiterates rejection of foreign judges

The Sri Lankan government once again reiterated its rejection to the participation of foreign judges in any accountability mechanism for human rights abuses on the island, dismissing a key aspect of a UN resolution. Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of Power and Energy, Ajith Perera, told reporters at the weekly cabinet meeting that both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were staunchly against the involvement of international judges. "Our judiciary is very strong and we are capable of solving our own issues. The President, Prime Minister and government has made...

Demilitarisation, disappeared persons, land return and political prisoners must be addressed - Special Rapporteur on minorities

The Sri Lankan government must immediately address demilitarisation, disappeared persons, land return and political prisoners as the most pressing issues for Tamils and Muslims, the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues told the Human Rights Council on Wednesday. Presenting the report following her October 2016 visit to Sri Lanka, Special Rapporteur, Ms Rita Izsák, said “I acutely felt the mounting frustrations across the country about the pace of progress; a situation that seems even more critical today than it was when I undertook my visit.” “It was evident that the long conflict and the...

Mangala counters Mahinda: we managed to shift all action to domestic front

Countering a press statement released on Monday by the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa entitled 'Constitutional and legal reforms to destroy the nation' , Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera argued that his government had managed to end the country's scrutiny on an international stage and bring "shift all action to a domestic front". See here for full statement. Extracts reproduced below: "Let me be very clear: the transitional justice mechanisms to be implemented will not benefit one group or community above others, and will certainly not single out and target the armed...

Families of disappeared march in Mannar

Families of the missing and forcibly disappeared held an awareness march in Mannar on Monday, supported by locals and civil society actors.

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