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Zeid: Sri Lanka's unwillingness to investigate reinforces need for hybrid court

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday criticised what he described as Sri Lanka's "consistent failure to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish serious crimes" arguing that such failure "appears to reflect a broader reluctance or fear to take action against members of the security forces". 

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein highlighted a number of areas on which Sri Lanka had failed to take any or adequate action on. 

"In the face of rising frustration among victims, a number of confidence building measures must be accelerated. These include the release of land occupied by the military, which remains slow. While an effort is underway to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with legislation with complies with international human rights law, this work has yet to be concluded."

"I am particularly troubled by the lack of progress on a number of emblematic cases. The consistent failure to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish serious crimes appears to reflect a broader reluctance or fear to take action against members of the security forces."

"Combined with a general lack of trust of the justice system regarding past violations this continuing unwillingness or inability by the authorities to address impunity reinforces the need for international participation in a judicial mechanism." 

"Sri Lanka's courageous civil society and human rights defenders must be protected from harassment and intimidation. I understood to hear reports of intimidation of members of civil society here in the Palais de Nations. The assistant coordinator on reprisals will be looking into this."