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Ranil says biggest issue facing Sri Lanka has been removed, resolution mandates domestic mechanism

Sri Lanka's prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the resolution to be co-sponsored by Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later this month would mandate a "domestic mechanism".

Speaking at the 50th anniversary event of CIMA in Colombo on Thursday evening, after the draft text of the consensus resolution was released, Mr Wickremesinghe told audiences that the world had accepted Sri Lanka's expressed commitment to democracy.

"We will no longer have to face the pressures we have been facing for the past five or six years, the world has accepted the fact that we are building a democratic society," Mr Wickremesinghe was quoted by the Daily FT as saying.

Stating that the government had reached a compromise with the United States to include "Commonwealth and foreign judges and lawyers" instead of "international judges", Mr Wickremesinghe said the domestic mechanism "will certainly have the help of not only Sri Lankan but also Commonwealth and foreign judges and lawyers. But all that has to be authorised by Sri Lankan law."

"Following extensive negotiations, the Government has managed to include several clauses in the document recognizing the progress made on reconciliation since January 2015 and LTTE crimes highlighted in the UN investigation report," he was further quoted by the Colombo Page as saying.

"So thereby one of the biggest issues facing our country in the last five or six years has been removed and we can face the future with confidence, doing so on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of CIMA Sri Lanka," he later said, adding, "We are no longer in a cage."

Tweeting about the prime minister's address, Sri Lanka's deputy minister for policy planning and economic affairs, Harsha De Silva said: "PM announced that Sri Lanka too will co-sponsor the resolution on Sri Lanka in Geneva and investigation will be under a domestic mechanism."

See the full text of the resolution here.

The resolution calls for a "credible justice process" with "independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and  impartiality" and "Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators".

It also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to "present an oral update" to the Council at the 32nd session in June 2016 and present a "comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its 34th session" in March 2017. The OHCHR will also continue to assess progress on implementation of the recommendations listed in the OISL report.

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