Updated 1100 GMT
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday claimed that his government was able to stop the UN’s human rights office from publishing names of members of the security forces thought to be responsible for mass atrocities, whilst prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe blamed the former government for agreeing to a domestic investigation.
Speaking to the press in Colombo President Sirisena said the OHCHR Investigation in Sri Lankaintended to identify key people as perpetrators of human rights violations and barred them from travelling abroad and impose other sanctions, JDS reported. He said that 'international powers would have insisted on hard strictures and conditions on Sri Lanka in the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, if not for the change of government in Presidential Election of January 8 this year.'
"Our stand is to have a domestic inquiry,” he reiterated. “We can't avoid this situation. If we try to do that, we can't face the United Nations or the international community. Our stand is to have a domestic mechanism."
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, echoed Mr Sirisena's calls, saying, "What I emphasise is that, there will be no 'international inquiry'.”
“Nobody knows what a hybrid court is although they talk through the local media,” he said. “We do not accept this... We haven’t sold our sovereignty or integrity.”
Mr Wickremesinghe also blamed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa for agreeing to carry out a domestic inquiry into reports of human rights violations in a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2009.
“During the meeting I was privy to the agreement between UN Secretary General and President Rajapaksa; I was surprised to see that,” said Mr Wickremesinghe. “But I could not say anything since it has already been adopted”.
He went on to name former Attorney General Mohan Peiris, former representative for the UN in New York Palitha Kohona and former foreign secretary Romesh Jayasinghe as having met with the United Nations Panel of Experts in New York and agreeing to enact a domestic inquiry.
He added that the current government was still waiting on the outcomes from commissions appointed under Mr Rajapaksa. “We are waiting for Maxwell Paranagama and Udalagama commission reports to decide on the formation of the domestic mechanism”, he stated.
Mr Sirisena also laid the blame on the previous government, stating 'if the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was in power, names of perpetrators would have been made public'.
He also said the international community’s satisfaction with the actions taken by the government towards restoration of rights, media freedom, good governance and other positive steps of the new government was positively reflected in the report.