Canada’s Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre said he would look to prosecute Sri Lanka at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and appoint lawyers to pursue charges against accused war criminals in international criminal courts.
Giving interviews to two Tamil media outlets in recent months, Poilievre said his plan includes "Magnitsky sanctions to specifically target guilty members of the Rajapaksa regime for their role in the genocide”.
“We want to prosecute the regime at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). We will move motions to censor at the UN and in other international fora to hold the regime accountable for their abuses and to recognise on the world stage that this was a genocide that they carried out against the Tamils.”
Poilievre told another Tamil outlet that “we will be directing lawyers for foreign affairs Canada to pursue applications for the prosecution of the regime in international criminal courts so they can be prosecuted for the genocide that they carried out”.
His remarks came even as Leslyn Lewis, a shadow minister in Poilievre’s cabinet, seemingly lent her support to a petition calling for Canada to withdraw from United Nations and subsidiary organisations such as the World Health Organisation.
Responding to the right wing leader's pledges, spokesperson at Global Affairs Canada Grantly Franklin, told the Tamil Guardian “Canada continues to stress the importance of inclusive transitional justice in Sri Lanka that includes a focus on accountability for human rights violations, an end to impunity, and a commitment to reconciliation”.
Franklin highlighted Canada’s targeted sanctions “against four Sri Lankan state officials responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights during armed conflict in Sri Lanka” and how “Canada has been a global leader in the adoption of other UNHRC resolutions calling for freedom of religion, belief, and pluralism in Sri Lanka”.
“Canada will continue to collaborate alongside international partners, including through relevant multilateral bodies to advocate for human rights and accountability in Sri Lanka, which is an important step toward securing a safe, peaceful and inclusive future for the country,” Franklin concluded.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) did not respond to requests for comment.