May 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka says it will have a domestic mechanism with foreign technical expertise in place by September to address the reconciliation and accountability issues and investigate the alleged human right violations during the last stages of war against terrorism.
Addressing a media briefing today at Sirikotha, the United National Party (UNP) headquarters, Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said today that a domestic mechanism to probe into the allegations of war crimes will be in place by the next session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in September.
"All I can say is that we will have a domestic mechanism in place in time when the 30th session of UNHRC commences in September," Press Trust of India quoted the Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister's statement comes days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Sri Lankan leaders to "find truth wherever it may lead."
During his brief visit to Colombo last Saturday (May 02) when he was briefed on the steps being taken by the Government to promote reconciliation and address post conflict issues including missing persons, detainees and accountability, the top U.S. official emphasized that Sri Lanka must find its own solutions to national issues.
Appreciating the many positive steps that have already been taken by the Government, the Secretary offered US technical assistance for the measures, as required.
The Secretary expressed hope that the government will continue to cooperate with the United Nations as it explores the best way to mount a credible domestic investigation into allegations of human rights abuses - an investigation that meets international standards.
The Sri Lankan Minister said the government is working according to a timetable and is confident of meeting the timeline.
"We promised the people a domestic mechanism to look into human rights violations. There is a timeline for its setting up. We do have a timeline, we are working according to a timetable even now. I think we will be able to meet the timeline," he said.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena earlier this year assured the diplomatic community that his government will not hesitate to punish the offenders of human rights violations said to have taken place during the war after the conduct of a credible domestic inquiry through a judicial process into the allegations.
The President reiterated government's commitment to conduct an internal investigation into alleged human rights abuses and to take legal action if anyone is found guilty of violating human rights.
However, the President ruled out the need for the UN war crime investigators to get involved in the domestic investigations.