22 Mar 2019
UN rights body grants Sri Lanka war crimes probe extension
The UN's top rights body approved without a vote a resolution to postpone discussing the implementation of an official probe into crimes committed during the 37-year guerilla war, which ended in May 2009.
Sri Lanka yet to set up special judicial mechanism: Michelle
UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned earlier this week that Sri Lanka could slip back into conflict unless it addressed the "worst crimes" happened during the final stages of its ethnic war.
She told the Human Rights Council that Sri Lanka was yet to set up the special judicial mechanism as promised four years ago to try war criminals.
Bringing perpetrators of past crimes to justice is necessary: Michelle
"Continuing impunity risks fuelling communal or inter-ethnic violence, and instability," said Michelle.
"Resolving these cases, and bringing the perpetrators of past crimes to justice, is necessary to restore the confidence of victims from all communities," she further said.
Michelle noted a "lack of progress in setting up a special judicial mechanism to deal with the worst crimes committed during the 2009 conflict."
Lankan Foreign Minister Marapana hailed the resolution in council yesterday
Speaking to council yesterday, Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana hailed the resolution, describing it as "a mark of recognition of Sri Lanka's political-commitment and progressive steps already taken by the government since 2015."
British Ambassador Julian Braithwaite, whose country was one of the main sponsors of yesterday's resolution, agreed the text recognized "some very real achievements against (its) commitments in the past two years."
Co-sponsors of resolution stood ready to provide support: British Ambassador
However, the British Ambassador further said, "it also recognizes that in a number of important areas, implementation remains a work in progress."
He hailed Sri Lanka's affirmation that it remains determined to deliver on its commitments, and said the co-sponsors of the resolution, which also included Canada, Germany, North Macedonia and Montenegro, stood ready to provide support in the process.
Sri Lankan government troops killed minimum 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians
Sri Lankan government troops were accused of killing at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the final months of the war. A 2015 UNHRC resolution gave Lanka 18 months to establish a credible investigation. Colombo secured a two-year extension in 2017 that expires this month.