SC Judge to examine reconciliation process – G.L Peiris
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will appoint a Supreme Court Judge to examine its post-war reconciliation process the Chairman of the country’s ruling party told reporters Thursday.
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chief Prof G.L Peiris said that the judge will act as a Commission to review what has taken place and recommend future action.
This follows Sri Lanka declaring its decision to withdraw from the cosponsorship of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution 40/1 and the preceding resolutions 30/1 and 34/1.
Earlier the UNHRC had expressed concerns regarding the Sri Lanka situation.
Sri Lanka’s three-decade-long civil war that pitted the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam against the government ended in 2009. Human Rights activists, neutral observers as well as Tamil groups accuse Sri Lankan Security forces of mass-scale killings of civilians, rape and numerous enforced disappearances.
The Resolutions had called for sweeping changes, inquiries into -war-time atrocities, reparations for victims and changes to laws initially drawn up to combat terrorism.
Peiris claimed that many things have already been done domestically to promote peace and reconciliation in the country. “We will continue to carry out the reconciliation process for the betterment of the people but that will be done through local institutions.”
“We already established Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and we also appointed a Commission chaired by High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama. Through those commissions, a lot of work has been done already.”
In reality, many of the recommendations of the LLRC were not implemented during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s time.
One of the recommendations, that the National Anthem should be sung in Sinhala and Tamil, was not implemented at this year’s Independence Day ceremony after five years.
The Udalagama Commission also collapsed after it discovered stories of wartime atrocities unpalatable to the government and the funding was gradually stopped.
Witnesses at the Commission also complained of intimidation at the hearings.
The SLPP Chairman also alleged that providing co-sponsorship to resolutions, a decision taken by the previous government, has resulted in great damage to the country.
“Some of the resolutions given by the Yahapalana government are against the country’s Constitution and some of the resolutions can never be implemented. Some of these resolutions were a threat to the security and the people of the country, he claimed.”
One of the proposals the former government had agreed to was the abolishing of the out-dated Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
“What would have happened if these proposals were implemented? Because of the PTA, the authorities were able to question and detain those who were behind the Easter Sunday attacks,” Peiris added. (Colombo, February 27, 2020)
– Edited by Arjuna Ranawana
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies