The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has released a statement, in response to Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s decision to pardon Sunil Ratnayake, an army officer convicted of killing 8 Tamil civilians including children, calling for the international community to consider alternative avenues to justice including the invocation of universal jurisdiction.
Ratnayake was convicted in 2015 by the Colombo High Court for the murder of 8 Tamils including children in Mirusuvil in the North and East of Sri Lanka. His was one of the rare convictions of war-time abuses as was touted as an illustration of accountability despite Sri Lanka taking no real steps to address a prevailing atmosphere of impunity.
In their statement GTF stress;
“It is time to end the diplomatic charade that Sri Lanka on its own will deliver on accountability and reconciliation, and to seriously explore alternate strategies and options invoking universal jurisdiction by States and creating an international impartial accountability mechanism to help Sri Lanka deal with its unfortunate past”.
GTF also called upon Sri Lankan domestic groups to “rise to the challenge to impress upon the citizenry about the importance of adhering to international norms on human rights, rule of law and good governance”.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and US Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the US House Foreign affairs Committee, have condemned Rajapaksa’s decision to pardon Ratnayake, a known war criminal.
Read GTF's full statement here.