The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay said that Sri Lanka’s “efforts fall short of realization of the core terms” of a UN resolution on accountability for international crimes committed during the armed conflict.
Speaking to Ceylon Today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms Pillay said that she had “had great hope that the new Government will deliver on the undertakings they gave the HRC”.
“They articulated a strong will to do so, and convinced the member States of their serious intent to implement the Resolution,” she added. “They were well-positioned to implement the Resolution in full, being a State with democratic institutions and an independent judiciary.”
However, she said Sri Lanka’s efforts “efforts fall short of realization of the core terms of the Resolution relating to justice and reparation".
"We all know that if criminals go unpunished, it encourages others to take the law into their own hands,” she continued. “Today, the law did not protect a minority in Kandy; tomorrow, it may well be the majority that is left without the protection of the law," she added, referring to the recent anti-Muslim violence by Sinhala Buddhist mobs.
The violence was "not a religious clash, but another expression of brutality pervasive in society, a legacy of the long war and two insurgencies,” said the former High Commissioner.
"As I interact in my new capacities as the President of the Nuremberg Principles Academy Advisory Council, President of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty and as a member of the African Group for Justice and Accountability, on which I serve together with justice leaders from all parts of Africa, the demands for justice and yearning for security from recurrence are not forgotten long after conflict."
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