The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution calling for an international probe into the war crimes allegedly committed during the country’s ethnic conflict on Monday 27 January,at its 5th session. The Resolution rejected investigations conducted by the government, demanded for an independent international investigation facilitated by the UN.
The resolution was proposed by NPC member M.K. Shivajilingam of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which formed the NPC administration after winning the 2013 provincial elections. The opposition members in the Council objected to the resolution being discussed and voted against it. The Council also expressing its opinion that no justice or political solution could come to Tamils without the active intervention of the international community.
The resolution comes less than two months before United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay is due to submit a written report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the progress made by Sri Lanka in fixing accountability for alleged war crimes.
The Northern Council has sought an international inquiry into the Sri Lankan government’s acts of “ethnic cleansing,” Mr. Shivajilingam told The Hindu. He proposed a second resolution calling for rejecting Sri Lanka’s own inquiry mechanisms. Another resolution called for building a monument at Mullivaikkal, in Mullaitivu, in memory of civilians killed in the final military assault on the LTTE in May 2009.
The 38-member Council, of which 30 belong to the TNA, passed all three resolutions but not before several rounds of debate on whether the term “genocide” should be used. Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, regarded as a moderate voice within the TNA, insisted that the term be avoided. Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran stated that the word ‘genocide’ should not be used in this context and urged for the use of a similar word instead in order to avoid legal issues.
He stated that it is unsuitable to use such a word until an international investigation proves what actually happened during the war.
TNA member Ananthy Saseetharan proposed that an investigation should be conducted by the United Nations into the mass grave found in Mannar recently. She also called for the council to conduct a proper account to on the investigation to missing people. The Chief Minister Mr CV Wigneswaran proposed the name of Ms Ananthy to represent the Council at Geneva and which proposal was passed unanimously .
In addition 14 draft bills tabled in the Provincial Council were also approved.