Colombo: Sri Lanka has agreed to set up a special judicial mechanism with the participation of Commonwealth and foreign judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to try cases of war crimes and other human rights violations in the period between 2002 and 2011.
This was implicit when the Lankan government co-sponsored a US-led resolution on Sri Lanka which pressed for foreign participation in the proposed judicial mechanism, at the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday.
The resolution was passed unanimously, with even China and Pakistan, which had reservations initially, supporting it.
The resolution reaffirmed the importance of participation in a Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s Office of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators.
Co-sponsored by 37 of the 47 members of the council, the resolution said that foreign participation will help uphold the Rule of Law and give confidence in the mechanism among all communities.
It urged the Lankan government to carry out security sector reforms to punish those guilty of committing grave crimes and remove them from service while ensuring that those officers who had conducted themselves with “professionalism and honour” are not hounded.
Lanka has agreed to review the Public Security Ordinance and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act with a view to replacing it with an anti-terror law, which will be in line with contemporary international best practices. Colombo has also agreed to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons Against Forced Disappearances. The Lankan government has consented to review the recently passed Witness Protection Act to remove flaws and weaknesses.
The Lankan government is to establish a Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-recurrence; an Office of Missing Persons; and an Office for Reparations.
The resolution urged the government to allow each reconciliation mechanism to obtain financial, material and technical assistance from international partners, including the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. The resolution also spoke about human rights violations by LTTE.
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