Sri Lanka will not join ICC: PM | Daily News

Sri Lanka will not join ICC: PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe assured that the government had not agreed to join an International Criminal Court (ICC), to bring in foreign judges to Sri Lankan Courts and appoint a Hybrid Court since they are against the government’s policy as well as the policy of the Asian governments.

He said that the government only sought the expert advice in this regard. He added that the government has proposed to bring about an indigenous mechanism within the existing provisions of the Constitution to probe alleged war crimes.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added with the governments proposals, the previous government’s agreements to join in an international criminal court, to bring in foreign judges to Sri Lankan Courts and appoint a Hybrid Court in 2009 as included in the joint statement with the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon have become null and void.The Prime Minister also said that the government had agreed to extend the 2015 proposals on the condition that the government would give its observations on the report of the Human Rights Commissioner after studying the same.

He made these observations yesterday responding to a question raised by MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena who demanded to know if the government had agreed with a proposal to set up a hybrid court comprising foreign judges to probe war crimes violating the constitutional provisions to hunt war heroes and to extend period for the same proposals in the co sponsored resolution before the UNHRC in 2015.

“According to the resolution against Sri Lanka in 2014, it had been agreed to act in accordance with the joint statement of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and United Nations Secretary General Banki Moon in 2009 in which latter had stated that the accountability of the human rights violations of the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka should be investigated,” the Premier said.

“In the same statement, Moon had stated that Sri Lanka has agreed to punish the offenders under the International Human Rights. If we act accordingly either we or the international community could punish because it is not noted here under which law it was to be implemented,” the Premier said.

Premier said further that this government had not agreed to remove the unitary status of this country. “We have not agreed to affect the sovereignty of the country or to bring in foreign judges at any moment,” Premier said. “Either we have not agreed such a resolution or co-sponsored”

He said the 2015 resolution had appreciated the passage and operationalization of the nineteenth amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka and its contributions to promoting democratic governance and independent oversight of key institutions, including the provision on promotion of national reconciliation and integration.

He added the same resolution appreciated the steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka since January 2015 to advance respect for human rights and to strengthen good governance and democratic institutions.

“Some members of this House has a problem with the third section,” Premier said. “That is that the resolution had welcome the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to Investigate allegations of bribery, corruption, fraud, and abuses of power, and stressing the importance of such investigations and the prosecution of those responsible in ending impunity and promoting good governance.”

He added that the resolution had appreciated the government’s Declaration of Peace of 4 February 2015 and its acknowledgement of the loss of life and victims of violence of all ethnicities and religions. He added that it had recognised mechanisms to redress past abuses and violations work best when they are independent, impartial, and transparent; are led by individuals known for displaying the highest degree of professionalism, integrity, and impartiality. He added that there was no question about that.

“The resolution also said that there was a need for a process of accountability and reconciliation for violations and abuses committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” Premier Wickremesinghe said. “At any moment they have not suggested or insisted to appoint foreign judges. It also welcomes the government’s recognition that accountability is essential to uphold the rule of law and build confidence in the people of all communities of Sri Lanka “

He added the resolution appreciated the Sri Lankan Government’s proposal to establish a Judicial Mechanism. “They accepted our proposals and they did not insist us. With this proposal, the proposals in 2009 were removed,” Premier Wickremesinghe said. “It further affirmed the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.

The participation was proposed. They did insist to bring in foreign judges. We also have asked for advisors. Our proposal is to set such a mechanism up only within the frame of constitutional provisions. Our proposal would not do anything out of existing provisions of the constitution.”

The Premier also said that in the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s 2009 report there are references with regard to Sri Lanka joining the International Court of Justice and of a hybrid court. “We would not agree with any of them. After 2009, representatives of the former government agreed in New York to initiate legal actions against those who led the war,” the Premier said.

“As a part of that agreement they dragged Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka out of his office and imprisoned him.

“Thereafter, in 2014, Prof. G.L.Peiris said that the government was ready to initiate legal action to prosecute those who are responsible for the Muttur and Trincomalee killings,” the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister said that the members of the Joint Opposition are crying now of fear. “What could we do for that?” questioned the Premier. “We have agreed to extend the 2015 proposals on the condition that that we would give our observations on the report of the Human Rights Commissioner after studying the same.

“The President and mysellf have publicly stated and assured here too that the government would not join an International Criminal Court that is against the policy of the government, the policy of teh SAARC and the policy of the all Asian governments,” Premier said. “We have stated that we have not appoint foreign judges to our courts, and set up Hybrid Courts. Now we have had to clear the loans the previous government took and also to clear those issues created by asking to file cases against the country.”

The Prime Minister also assured that government would not agree to an international court. “We would only bring about a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism as per the provisions of the Constitution,” Premier said. “According to the Constitution we would have to appoint Sri Lankan judges. We are not against for obtaining the services of observers or experts. It was not us who appointed the Darusman Committee. We did not enter into agreements in New York against the interests of this country. We know how the Darusman committee was appointed. We state here that we would never breach or violate the constitution. We would table the communications between the then government and the Darushaman Committee.”

The Premier also asked it the opposition was ready to beg pardon from Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. 


 

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The government's inability to prosecute the five policemen who shot dead two undergraduates peacefully riding a motorcycle indicates the state of the system of justice in Sri Lanka. UN cannot be fooled any longer.

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