Sept 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka's minor Tamil political parties on Tuesday demanded the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to consider achieving justice and accountability through a credible hybrid mechanism as domestic probe will not address the concerns of the victims.
In a joint statement sent to all 47 members of the UNHRC, four minor Tamil parties and 40 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) & Trade Unions urged the Council to reconsider the current draft resolution, which agrees for Sri Lanka to conduct a domestic mechanism with the involvement of international judges and consultants.
They asked the UNHRC to redraft it so that "it truly serves the purpose of providing the basis for delivering accountability and justice in Sri Lanka."
Along with the United States, the main sponsor of the draft resolution , the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have co-sponsored the resolution A/HRC/30/L.29 titled 'Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka'.
Following extensive negotiations, the Sri Lankan government had reached a compromise with sponsors of the resolution on prosecuting allegations of serious human rights violations and potential war crimes under a "Sri Lankan judicial mechanism" that will include local, foreign and Commonwealth judges and lawyers instead of the "international judges" proposed by the OHCHR report.
The four Tamil parties, Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), Democratic People's Liberation Front (PLOTE), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and Tamil National People's Front (TNPF), along with the CSOs reiterated their firm conviction of the victims of the war that "accountability and justice can only be truly delivered through an international criminal justice process."
However, they said they are willing to consider a "credible hybrid mechanism" led and managed by its international component under the aegis of the UN.
The groups says the Operative Paragraphs 4 and 6 of the draft resolution do not adequately provide for the setting up of such a credible hybrid mechanism and only seek to provide the appearance of credibility to a domestic process.
The group noted "with deep regret" that in the interest of arriving at a consensus resolution with Sri Lanka that many key components of the initial draft have been omitted.
The letter noted that the Sri Lankan Government appointing foreign judges to its own judicial mechanism will not address the structural factors that inhibit the domestic structures in Sri Lanka.
"A mechanism, which is by and large managed and controlled by the Sri Lankan state, will not in our opinion be deemed credible by the victims in Sri Lanka," they said.