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OISL should investigate Tamil genocide - American University's UNROW

A clinic based at the American University's law college has called on the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate charges of genocide against the Sri Lankan state and refer the country to the International Criminal Court.

In an article, published in the college's Human Rights Brief, the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic details aspects of Sri Lanka's genocide against Tamils, including killings, measures intended to prevent births and the government's intent to destroy a group in whole or part.

"The obligation to prevent and punish genocide under the Genocide Convention is not a matter of political choice or calculation, but one of binding customary international law. The Office of the High Commission on Human Rights’ Investigation on Sri Lanka (OSIL) should investigate and report on the charge of genocide in its submission to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015. The UN Security Council should refer the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for prosecutions based on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide," UNROW argued.

The organisation, which has advocated on behalf of victim of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka for 5 years, also called on domestic courts in countries such as the US, to take action under universal jurisdiction and prosecute officials guilty of the crimes.

"Alternatively or concurrently, domestic courts in countries that may exercise universal jurisdiction over the alleged events and perpetrators, including but not limited to the United States, should prosecute these crimes. Top Sri Lankan officials, starting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, must be brought to justice," it said.

See full article here.

In light of the report, several academics and organisation joined UNROW in calling on the OISL to investigate whether Sri Lanka committed genocide against Tamils.

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, respectfully request the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to:

1. Investigate the allegation that the Sri Lankan government committed genocide against Tamils; and

2. Recommend that the UN Security Council refer the Sri Lankan situation to the International Criminal Court for investigation and prosecutions, as appropriate.

Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic
Yale Law School
New Haven, United States

Center for Constitutional Rights
New York City, United States

Sentinel Project
Toronto, Canada

RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees
Melbourne, Australia

Dr. R. Cheran
Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology, University of Windsor

Kimberly Curtis
Human Rights Lawyer and Journalist

Golriz Ghahraman
International Criminal Lawyer and Former Assistant Prosecutor at the Extraordinary Chambers
in the Courts of Cambodia

Dr. Kevin Jon Heller
Professor of Criminal Law, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Milli Lake
Assistant Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University

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