Sri Lanka must grant amnesty to detained ex-LTTE cadres and move on from war: Champika
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka must consider granting amnesty to ex-LTTE cadres that are still detained while former LTTE bigwigs continue to roam free, main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Champika Ranawaka said.
The former minister told reporters yesterday that the country needs to move on from the separatist war that ended nearly 12 years ago.
Former LTTE leaders like chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan (alias KP) and Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (alias Karuna Amman) are largely living as free men without even a court acquittal or an official pardon, said Ranawaka, as the law was not enforced on them. Given this, he said, there is no justification for continuing to hold former cadres in detention.
“What we need to do now is not to probe deeper into the details of a war that ended 12 years ago. This Independence Day, what we must strive to do instead is to put the past behind us, grant amnesty to all of them and move forward,” he said.
The former minister made these remarks in response to a question about the upcoming United National Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions.
The SJB is opposed to Sri Lankan security forces being tried in a foreign court under any circumstance, he said, but the party believes that anyone who has committed a crime in their own private capacity must face justice within the borders of Sri Lanka.
“We must remember that there was a gruesome separatist war in this country. It was not possible for any leader to freely engage in politics. So many of them were assassinated in both the north and the south of the country. The security forces of the democratically elected Sri Lankan government had to contain that. As innocent civilians were killed in their thousands, when ethnic cleansing of all ethnicities was carried out in the north and east, Sri Lanka had to act, using counter-terrorism measures that every country has adopted,” he said.
“We are against our security forces being tried or penalized in any way in a foreign court for carrying out that duty. But if anyone – even if they have contributed to the eradication of terrorism – has committed a crime in their own private capacity, Sri Lanka’s own courts can try them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Udaya Gammanpila said on Wednesday that the Government has decided to reject the report issued by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, as it has acted in violation of the mandates and non-submission of reliable evidence.
He said that the Government’s response to the report has already been submitted in writing to the United Nations. He further said that it will be made public when Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena addresses the UN Human Rights Council, which begins its sessions on February 22.
Bachelet’s report which alleges HR violations in Sri Lanka has been published in several media outlets on January 27.
Minister Gammanpila said the government decided to reject the report as it has been prepared in violation of the mandates given through resolutions 30/1 and 40/1 of the UNHRC to the Human Rights Commissioner.
The government withdrew from the co-sponsorship of several UNHRC resolutions last February 2020. (Colombo/Feb05/2021)