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TNPF calls on UN to refer Sri Lanka to ICC

The Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) reiterated its call that Sri Lanka should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) more than a decade after a military offensive killed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.

TNPF leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday, stating that the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation in Sri Lanka (OISL) “has been the most damning report on Sri Lanka so far”.

“Consequent to the report, the then High Commissioner observed that considering the heinous crimes that had been committed and also keeping in mind the unworkability of domestic mechanisms to deliver on credible criminal justice, OHCHR recommended that a Hybrid Court be set up in Sri Lanka,” he added.

However, the Sri Lankan government has consistently rejected the notion of a hybrid court with foreign judges as mandated by UN resolutions, with the government’s foreign minister rejecting such a mechanism in Geneva earlier this year and lashing out at the UN human rights chief’s report on the island.

“The Sri Lankan government has ever since not only rejected the notion of setting up a Hybrid Court, but in fact has said on record by no lesser persons than the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister for External Affairs, that no members of Sri Lanka’s armed forces will ever be tried before any court of law,” added Ponnambalam.

“Given this reality, OHCHR in its last follow up report to the 40th session of this Council, called on member States to go beyond this Council and consider alternate measures to pursue Criminal Justice,” he said. 

“It has been over 10 years since the end of the war. As representatives of the Tamil victims of Genocide, we strongly urge OHCHR to do the only thing left to achieve Criminal Justice and call for a referral of Sri Lanka to the ICC.”

See video of his address below.