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Lanka rejects war crimes courts with foreign judges

Sri Lanka is emphatically rejecting any attempts to prosecute its citizens for alleged war crimes by courts that would involve foreign judges.

In a statement delivered today (Wednesday) in Geneva at the 40th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Foreign Minister, Tilak Marapana said that the setting up of a judicial system involving non-citizens would require a Constitutional Amendment.

He asserted that “there are no proven allegations against individuals on war crimes or crimes against humanity in the OISL report of 2015 or in any subsequent official document. It is an injustice to deprive any serving or retired officer of the Sri Lankan security forces or the police of their rights.”

He acknowledged that these assertions are “in direct contradiction” to independent assessments sent by foreign missions in Colombo, UN Agencies,  the ICRC, and journalists.

Marapana urged the Commission to encourage and assist Sri Lanka to find innovative and viable local mechanisms and processes which incorporates international best practices to deal with these allegations.

The Foreign Minister pointed to the happenings in late last year when our judicial, public service and defence institutions have demonstrated independence, resilience, robustness and resolve. It is only then that we will be able to bring closure to these events, which would enjoy the confidence of victims and society at large.”

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