Accountability mechanism ready for discussion by early 2017

mangala SMinister Samaraweera speaking to the media on 6 July, after attending the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva said the envisioned Court Accountability Mechanism will be one that every stakeholder can agree. Mr. Samaraweera said that the Judicial Mechanism will be established after consulting all the stakeholders, especially the victims. On the controversial issue of accepting or rejecting foreign judges and prosecutors, the Minister said that all options will be examined during the stakeholder consultation process.

He said that the architecture for the mechanism for accountability would be ready by early next year for discussion.

Mr Samaraweera also sought to play down differences of opinion on foreign involvement in the mechanism, stating that a solution would be found in between the two positions.

He said that the Judicial Mechanism will be established after consulting all the stakeholders, especially the victims. On the controversial issue of accepting or rejecting foreign judges and prosecutors, the Minister said that all options will be examined during the stakeholder consultation process.

“The Consultations are continuing regarding the Truth Seeking process,” the minister said,” Once the truth seeking process is arrived at we will move on to the area of Accountability .”

“The government is setting up needed institutions to achieve Accountability. The minister said they have already finalized establishment of a Permanent Office on Missing Persons. The reconciliation process is moving forward on the pillars of Truth Seeking, Accountability, Reparation and Non-recurrence,

The Foreign Minister said, he has invited Tamil Diaspora activists, including those still promoting a separatist agenda to visit Sri Lanka. Minister Samaraweera had extended the invitation on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka during a meeting with expatriate Tamils on the sidelines of 32 session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Dismissing allegations that the government had co-sponsored Geneva Resolution 30/1 last October due to pressure exerted by foreign powers, Minister Samaraweera emphasized that Sri Lanka’s decision was certainly voluntary. Minister Samaraweera stressed that post-war national reconciliation would never be a reality unless past issues were dealt with.

Minister Samaraweera emphasised that proper investigation was certainly required to clear the Sri Lankan military of alleged battlefield excesses. Denying that the government had assured the UNHRC the military would be punished, Minister Samaraweera said that the government had co-sponsored Geneva Resolution 30/1 to restore Sri Lanka’s image. Declaring that the military was disciplined, Minister Samaraweera those who had responsible for atrocities would have to be severely dealt with on the basis of the findings of investigations.

Minister Samaraweera criticized Chairman of the Commission former High Court judge Maxwell Paranagama for declaring that as the use of cluster ammunition had been banned on August 1, 2010, UNHRC couldn’t have found fault with Sri Lanka even if they had bee used.

Minister Samaraweera alleged that such talk caused suspicions among the minds of the people as regards the conduct of the military.

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