Colombo, March 15 (NIA) – Sri Lanka, on Wednesday strongly reiterated that it would not allow the establishment of a hybrid court to probe allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes just weeks after the UN urged the island country to set up special hybrid courts to try war criminals.
Deputy Minister of Power and Energy, Ajith Perera, addressing the weekly cabinet media briefing here said that Sri Lanka was capable of handling its domestic issues and the government had faith in the country’s judiciary.
“Our judiciary is very strong and we are capable of solving our own issues. The President, Prime Minister and government has made it very clear that we will not allow any foreign judges or lawyers to be a part of any probe,” Perera said.
In a 17 page report to be published on March 22, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein noted that Sri Lanka should adopt legislation establishing the hybrid court, which should include international judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators, to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law, and provide it with the resources necessary to enable it to try those responsible promptly and effectively.
The UN described Sri Lanka’s progress in addressing the allegations as “worryingly slow”.
In its latest report, it said abuses including torture remained widespread, with “a prevailing culture of impunity” partly to blame.
The UN said coalition politics in the unity government Sirisena formed after ousting former strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse were likely to blame for the slow pace of progress.
As many as 40,000 minority Tamil civilians are alleged to have been killed in final months of battle between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. Sri Lanka’s 30 year civil conflict ended with the defeat of the rebels in May 2009.
More than 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during years of conflict.