Sri Lanka cannot domestically deal with 'grave crimes' found in OISL report says UN Rights Chief

Updates with further reactions 09.45 BST 18 Sep 2015 The OHCHR investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL) indicates a pattern of violations that suggest that crimes against humanity and war crimes were likely committed, said the United Nations Human Rights Chief upon releasing the report on Wednesday. Speaking at a press conference at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Zeid Hussein said, “The report draws us closer to the conclusion... that crime against humanity and war crimes.... have apparently been committed by state actors,... the LTTE and paramilitary groups.” Highlighting a “deep mistrust” between victims and the state, and “repeated failures by the state in providing justice,” the Human Rights Chief said that a significant recommendation from the report was the set up of a hybrid court to ensure there is no impunity for crimes of “such grave nature.” Mr Hussein added, “a purely domestic procedure will not succeed in overcoming decades of broken promises… it is an inescapable reality that Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system is not ready to handle these types of crimes.” He further called on Sri Lanka to show it's commitment to non-recurrence by ratifying the Rome Statute. Please find a link to the full report here . See summary report here .

Campaign for international accountability process reaches 150,000 signatories across North-East of Sri Lanka

Photographs: Tamil Guardian A signature campaign calling for an international process of justice and accountability for the mass killing of Tamil civilians during the final stages of the armed phase of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict continued at Jaffna University.

Campaign for international accountability moves to Amparai

A signature campaign calling for an international process of justice and accountability for the mass killing of Tamils in 2009 spread to Amparai on Saturday.

25 years since Sathurukondan massacre

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre of 184 Tamil civilians by soldiers of the Sri Lankan army. On September 9, 1990, the men, women and children from Sathurukondan and surrounding villages, on the outskirts of Batticaloa, were taken to an army camp by Sri Lankan soldiers, where they were killed. The mass killings, which were carried out during the presidency of the UNP's Ranasinghe Premadasa, were investigated in a probe established by then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1997. The probe identified three captains in the Sri Lankan army as being responsible for the killings. The retired judge who led the inquiry, K Palakidnar said that there was strong evidence for the massacre and urged Ms Kumaratunga to hold the perpetrators to account, however no action was taken by the government.

NPC unanimously calls for international tribunal

The Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling for the formation of an international tribunal to try those alleged to have carried out mass atrocities on the island. In a resolution that was unanimously passed earlier today, the NPC noted Sri Lanka’s “long and blighted history of human rights violations” which they had characterised as amounting to genocide. “In this context, we the members of the Northern Provincial Council believe that the trial of the alleged perpetrators should not take place through any mechanism instituted by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) as a State also incurs responsibility for the acts of its agents,” the resolution said. Further stating that no domestic law prescribes these international crimes and whether Sri Lanka’s constitution would allow foreign judges to be appointed to exercise jurisdiction, the NPC said, “Under these circumstances, the trial of the perpetrators of international crimes by a domestic mechanism, would be a travesty of justice as it would amount to the potentially guilty Government trying its own agents, thereby violating the prohibition in the maxim nemo iudex in sua causa.”

TNA becomes third biggest party in Sri Lanka with 16 parliamentary seats

Updated 22:00 BST Results from the Tamil-dominated North-East reveal an overwhelming victory for the Tamil National Alliance. Receiving the greatest number of votes in Jaffna, Vanni and Batticaloa, the TNA has secured 16 parliamentary seats, which places it as the third biggest party in Sri Lanka. As the results of the preferential votes come through, in the Jaffna district, S Sritharan received 72,158 votes, Mavai Senathirajah 58,782 votes, M A Sumanthiran 58,043 votes, Siddarththan 53,743 votes and E Saravanabavan 43,719 votes. In comparison to the 2010 parliamentary election results, initial results in the predominantly Tamil speaking regions indicate a rise in support for the TNA and Tamil National People's Front (TNPF), which both agreed on the necessity for an international accountability process into Sri Lanka's mass atrocities. See Tamil election pledges below: TNA manifesto calls for constitutional change that accepts Tamil right to self-determination (25 Jul 2015) TNPF calls for internationally mediated political solution acknowledging 'two sovereign nations' in one country (14 August 2015) International investigation is essential agree Tamil political parties across North-East (02 August 2015) Wigneswaran urges Tamils to vote for 'justice, homeland and self-determination’ (14 August 2015) In a letter to Tamil donors, the Tamil National Alliance spokesperson, Suresh Premachandran, thanked the diaspora for its support and said he would ensure a further “international investigation” into the findings of the UN investigation into Sri Lanka's mass atrocities, whilst also raising awareness in the international community about the “Tamil genocide.” Urging donors to speak to their friends and families in “our Tamil Eelam,” Mr Premachandran pledged further to stop “unpatriotic Tamil MPs who beg appeasement from the Sri Lankan Sinhala government.” The run up to the elections saw the ruling UNF majority Sinhala coalition and the UPFA Sinhala majority opposition reject Tamil demands for fully devolved federalism, acknowledgement of the Tamil right to self-determination, de-militarisation of the North-East and international justice mechanisms. Speaking on BBC World News, Tamil Guardian's Sutharshan Sukumaran, said that as with previous elections, "the full spectrum of Sinhala majority parties have rejected Tamil demands in the run up to elections." The ruling UNP coalition managed to secure 106 seats, making it 7 seats short of an overall majority. The current parliamentary set up once again places the TNA as kingmakers in allowing a future UNP led parliament to carry out its proposed forms. In the run up to the elections the TNA in the event of such an outcome, pledged to use its leverage in parliament to secure a political solution for the Tamil people in the North-East. All island cumulative results

Election polls close in Sri Lanka amid unanimous Sinhala rejection of Tamil demands

Tamils cast their vote in the North-East. (Photograph Tamilwin). Polls opened this morning local time for Sri Lanka's parliamentary election. Tamils awoke today to elect an expected maximum 18 MPs to seek constitutional change within a 225 seat Sinhala majority parliament where there has been a rejection of Tamil demands from across the spectrum of Sinhala majority political parties. The election has seen the return of the formerly defeated president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to run on as the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) candidate against the United National Party, which has formed a coalition together with smaller parties including the JHU - the United National Front (UNF). The ruling UNF majority Sinhala coalition as well as the UPFA Sinhala majority opposition have rejected Tamil demands for fully devolved federalism, acknowledgement of the Tamil right to self-determination, de-militarisation of the North-East and international justice mechanisms. Amid credible reports of ongoing torture in Sri Lanka, Tamils in the militarised North-East have been clear in reiterating their demands however, which stem from over six decades of seeking solutions within Sinhala majoritarianism in parliament. As campaigning has heated up over recent weeks, the Tamil parties have launched their campaigns precisely on these very issues that remain of the greatest significance to the Tamil electorate. The two main Tamil parties - the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) have said they will seek constitutional change to fully devolve powers to the North-East through a federal solution and recognise Tamils as a nation on the island, as well as proceeding to seek an international process to deal with the findings of the upcoming UN investigation in to Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities.

14 Aug 2006: 53 Tamil school girls killed by Sri Lankan air strike on children's home

On 14th August 2006, fifty-three Tamil school girls and 3 staff members were killed, and over 150 injured, when four Sri Lankan Air Force jets flew over the Vanni, dropping sixteen bombs over the Sencholai children's home in Vallipuram for orphaned girls. In a macabre warning of the attacks against hospitals within the designated 'No Fire Zones' in 2009, the Sencholai attack took place despite the Sencholai's GPS coordinates being given to the Sri Lankan military via UNICEF and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), in order to protect it as a humanitarian zone. See a list of the victims at the end of this article and their photos here . Also see a survivor’s account of the airstrike here , and photos of the aftermath here and here .

Strong international involvement needed to address ongoing torture in Sri Lanka says Freedom From Torture

A 78 page study by Freedom from Torture UK, found that Sri Lanka’s military, police and intelligence services have carried on practicing torture and rape against Tamils after the armed conflict, with incidents also occurring under the new Sirisena government. The report called on member states of the United Nations Human rights Council and Security Council to work to ensure a “genuine accountability process” which to win the confidence of the Tamil community “must include strong international participation at every stage and level.” Calling on Maithripala Sirisena to publically acknowledge...