TNA demands for foreign judges

sumanthiranThe US has been told that the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) expected foreign judges in the proposed hybrid court to inquire into alleged atrocities committed during the war. The TNA position has been stressed by its spokesperson and Jaffna District MP M. A. Sumanthiran at Congressional Caucus briefing on June 14, 2016. The TNA last evening released the following statement by Sumanthiran on international involvement in the accountability process:

” If you ask me about international involvement in the accountability process, as far as I know the government has not said ‘no’ to international involvement. All the multiple voices that you talk about say ‘international involvement – yes, but not judges’. Now I take great exception to that, because as I said at the beginning, the text of the 2015 Resolution is a negotiated text. We asked for an international inquiry, and we settled for a hybrid model. So that was negotiated with the government of Sri Lanka. And having compromised and settled to a model which in the Resolution doesn’t merely say hybrid but explains in detail judges, prosecutors, defence attorneys and investigators, it obviously means judge qua judges, prosecutors qua prosecutors, so on and so forth. So it does not mean (for) judges to be advisors or judges to be involved in some other capacity. And that was well understood.

“I was personally involved in the negotiations, with the United States of America also participating in that particular process. There were some doubts created, as to whether the Constitution of Sri Lanka would allow for foreign nationals to function as judges and we went into that question, clarified it, and said yes they can and that is how that phraseology was agreed upon. And so, to us having negotiated and compromised and agreed that there would be a hybrid tribunal to try these mass atrocities, it is not open for the Government now to shift its stance and say ‘well, international involvement yes ,but it’s in a different form, now…’. That is not acceptable to us at all. And we have said this. Quite openly

“I have spoken in Parliament at least two or three times and the Government has not contested me on that. We have said it to the President when he called for an all party conference on the implementation on the UN resolution, and he has not contested us on that. But as you say, in the public there are different voices that we hear. So we are concerned as much as people are, with regard to this particular issue, wondering if the Government is shifting its stance. However, such a mechanism has not been brought about as yet. So we will wait until we reach that particular point of setting up a court of the Special Counsel’s office and so on and so forth and insist that every word, and spirit, in that resolution will be complied with.”

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