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Sri Lanka's opposition leader: Geneva and Tamil diaspora in control

Sri Lanka's opposition leader and former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa warned this week that what "Geneva and the [Tamil] diaspora" wanted was being implemented in Sri Lanka. 

"War heroes are being arrested and thrown in to jail while terrorists have been released and are living freely," Rajapaksa was quoted by Adaderana as saying to reporters in Kandy yesterday. 

"The current government exists because of TNA leader R. Sampanthan and that if they don’t treat him well, the government will have to go home," he added. 

His comments come as Sri Lanka looks to co-sponsor a roll-over resolution of the original 30/1 text which called for a hybrid court with international judges to investigate war crimes. 

Sri Lanka's Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella on Friday reassured parliament that foreign judges would not hear cases within a war crimes inquiry and stressed that no 'war heroes' would be put before foreign judges. 

Read more: Sri Lankan government reiterates no foreign judges for war crimes inquiry

His comments come as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said "virtually no progress" had been made on war crimes investigations as detailed in the original resolution 30/1, which called for a hybrid court with international judges to investigate war crimes. 

Read more: 'Virtually no progress' in Sri Lanka on war crimes investigations says UN human rights chief's office

In candid statement published last week the Sri Lankan foreign affairs ministry said it would co-sponsor a roll-over resolution but admitted it would be doing so as "this strategy will prevent international war crimes allegations being continuously leveled against Sri Lankans through strengthened ownership of the implementation process."

Read more: Sri Lanka admits strategy to 'prevent international war crimes allegations being continuously leveled'

The ministry's remarks were refuted by the president however, who has sent three representatives to Geneva in order to seek a withdrawal from the resolution. 

The Sri Lankan government's sincerity in implementation has been widely questioned by Tamil organisations and human rights groups worldwide, as well as the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who have condemned the lack of meaningful progress on key concerns. 

Pointing to Colombo's attempt to further delay the implementation of the co-sponsored UN Resolution 30/1 by talking of a 'truth and reconciliation commission' just days before the UN Human Rights Council was due to convene and review the resolution, Pillay said, “the key promises of justice and accountability are missing in the Prime Minister’s message."

"I am disappointed to learn that on the eve of the interactive dialogue on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’(OHCHR) report on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council, the Government of Sri Lanka is resorting to yet another delaying tactic to escape......implementation of Resolution 30/1,” said Pillay. 

Read more: Former UN Human Rights Chief slams Sri Lanka's 'delaying tactic'