Written by Tharushan Fernando
04 Mar, 2017 | 9:13 pm
A report released by the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner says that there is a risk of the the
momentum towards lasting peace, reconciliation and stability being derailed, because of the slow pace of transitional justice in Sri Lanka, and the lack of a comprehensive strategy to address accountability for past crime.
The report, which assesses the progress made in the implementation of human rights in the country, is to be presented at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The report notes that there is a visible change of policy direction in addressing past human rights violations and that the Government of Sri Lanka has advanced on constitutional reforms and showcased some positive developments on the broader human rights agenda.
The report has put forward several recommendations for the progress of justice and reconciliation in the country.
Its recommendations state – to Adopt legislation establishing a hybrid court, which should include international judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators, to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law, and provide it with the resources necessary to enable it to try those responsible promptly and effectively.
The report recommends – to Enact legislation to criminalise war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and enforced disappearances without statutes of limitation, and enact modes of criminal liability, in particular command or superior responsibility.
It also recommends to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act by legislation that adheres to the best international practices.
The report goes on to say that the government has created several ad hoc bodies, including the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, and the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation,and several technical working groups tasked with drafting blueprints for the accountability and reconciliation mechanisms to be established.
It says that these bodies, however, are yet to present a sufficiently convincing or comprehensive transitional justice strategy to overcome the legacy of mistrust and scepticism left by a number of inconclusive ad hoc commissions and procedures. Such a strategy is of critical importance to maximise the synergies between the various reform processes.
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