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SL foreign minister criticises ‘erroneous’ UN report and speaks out against ICC tribunal

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake criticised a United Nations Special Rapporteur report on ongoing and systemic torture on the island, stating they were “erroneous remarks”, as he reiterated Sri Lanka’s political and military leaders would not appear before an international war crimes tribunal.

Commenting on a recent meeting with another senior UN official, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, Mr Karunanayake said Sri Lankan government officials held positive talks.

A report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson was reportedly raised with Mr Feltman, with The Island quoting Mr Karunayake as stating,

“Some erroneous remarks by Emmerson were raised with Feltman and the matter sorted out".

In his report, Mr Emmerson warned the Sri Lankan government was laying down conditions that may “reignite conflict” and that it has done “almost nothing” to hold human rights violators in the military to account. He was also quoted by Reuters as saying, 'Sri Lanka could face a range of measures, including a referral to the UN Security Council, if it fails to meet commitments it made under a 2015 UN resolution.'

The foreign minister however went on to state that an international war crimes tribunal at The Hague would not be allowed to take place by his government.

"It is because Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe refused to sign the Rome Statute, that none of our political and military leaders could be hauled up before the International Criminal Court of Justice," he said.

See more from The Island here.