The leader of the Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) called for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the setting up of an ad hoc international criminal tribunal, in order to to obtain justice for Tamil victims, in an address to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week.
Gajen Ponnambalam said that the OISL report had found “a domestic accountability mechanism would not suffice due to the lack of capacity owing to the distortion and corruption of the security sector and judicial system in Sri Lanka”.
“The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka speaking to Tamil victims in Jaffna whilst these very sessions were under way, publicly called on them to “forgive and forget” as a response to the victims’ demand for criminal justice,” he added. “When Sri Lanka’s topmost leaders have so consistently rejected the need for criminal accountability, it is amply clear that the UNHRC is not going to be able to deliver on this core demand of Tamil victims.”
The TNPF leader concluded by stating,
“Would the High Commissioner agree with me, at least 10 years since the end of the war that the only possibility of the Tamil victims seeing criminal justice, is by Sri Lanka being referred to the ICC or the setting up of an ad hoc international criminal tribunal?”
The Sri Lankan government has been granted a further two years to implement a previous resolution on accountability, which mandates the setting up of hybrid court with international judges.
However, Sri Lanka’s foreign minister told the UNHRC that his government would not allow foreign judges to participate in such a mechanism, stating that it was against his country’s constitution.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned that without such accountability, impunity would continue in Sri Lanka which risks fuelling further violence.