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‘We cannot depend on Sri Lankan system for war crimes trials’ – Sumanthiran

Sri Lanka does not even attempt to start an investigation into the murder of journalist ‘if there is a Tamil name’ claimed Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran, in a speech where he called for an international accountability process for war crimes.

In a scathing attack on the current government, Sumanthiran said Colombo had “only talked and done nothing for the last four years” when it came to investigating high profile killings. “Year after year you say all these names, and you’re complicit with the previous regime in covering up these crimes. Only words, nothing else. True, four years ago the regime changed, but what has happened after that? There has been no progress.”

The parliamentarian went on to highlight the long history of journalists and media workers being assassinated on the island, pressing the government on the lack of progress in investigating the killing.

“Can the Members in the Government benches name the Tamil journalists killed during that period?,” he asked. “Do you know at least one name? During the period of 20 years, 14 Tamil journalists were killed. Has anything being done? Not even an investigation has commenced.”

“You don’t even start an investigation if there is a Tamil name’” he continued. “You have the gall to come here and say that you have independent investigations in Sri Lanka, and to reject involvement of international investigations.”

“You don’t protest international umpires taking part in cricket matches played here. When it comes to a war between the Government of Sri Lanka against another armed group, the Government of Sri Lanka cannot be the arbiter. Judicial mechanism should be independent where a party involved in the dispute cannot inquire into it. So that is why you need an independent party. We don’t have laws in this country to investigate these international crimes... If the former Commander of the Army Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka is not hesitant to go before any tribunal, why are you scared?” 

See more from the Daily FT here.

The TNA also tweeted excerpts of Sumanthiran’s speech, quoting him as saying,

#lka govt speaks of corruption & killings during previous regime, but does nothing to conclude those cases. This makes them complicit in them. It seems like they have good understanding with the other side. Both sides shout at each other, but do [email protected]

This is why we need intl judges to examine the issue of #WarCrimes. We cannot depend on a system like this for such an important issue - @MASumanthiran

See more from the TNA here.