Colombo, March 15 (newsin.asia): Sri Lanka’s transitional justice system, which is go into the question of war crimes, will not benefit any one group and will certainly not single out and target the armed forces, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in a statement here on Wednesday.
“The transitional justice mechanisms to be implemented will not benefit one group or community above others, and will certainly not single out and target the armed forces,” he said, rejecting the thesis propounded by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, that the government and the international community are in cahoots to persecute the brave Sri Lankan armed forces which liberated the country from the clutches of the world’s deadliest terrorist group, the LTTE.
“This (charge) is opportunistic, and especially ironic, coming from the person who imprisoned the commander who led the armed forces to victory,” the Foreign Minister said, recalling the arrest and jailing of Army chief, Gen.Sarath Fonseka, by Rajapaksa, on some corruption charges and a trumped up allegation that he tried to stage a coup.
About Rajapaksa’s criticism that the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) is meant to fix the troops, Samaraweeera said that the families of more than 5000 missing military personnel and the families of missing policemen, will also benefit by the work of the OMP.
The Minister said that Rajapaksa has no right to complain about the possibility of foreign involvement in the judicial mechanism when he himself had used them in various judicial mechanisms.
“It was under his leadership that multiple transitional justice processes were initiated, and international prosecutors were engaged. The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) established by him engaged foreigners invited by him, and also nominated by Australia, Canada, the European Commission, UK, Japan, the Netherlands, USA, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and a Cypriot nominated by the Government of Sri Lanka. International prosecutors were also engaged in connection with the Paranagama Commission (on missing persons),” Samaraweera said.
On Rajapaksa’s view that government has given in on the demand for devolution of power to the Tamil minority, the Minister said: “Implementation of the thirteenth amendment to the constitution (devolving power to the provinces) was for the first time made into an international pledge under his leadership through the much touted victory resolution S-11/1 sponsored by Sri Lanka and adopted on 27th May 2009 by the UN Human Rights Council.”
“The resolution welcomed the “reassurance given by the President of Sri Lanka that he does not regard a military solution as a final solution, as well as his commitment to a political solution with implementation of the thirteenth amendment to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”
On Rajapaksa’s opposition to the move to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act by a more humane one as per international standards, Samawraweera asked if Rajapaksa thinks that Sri Lankans are not entitled to decent treatment in custody?
On the report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation, Samaraweera said that no decision has been taken and that the due constitutional process will be gone through. The report had given the views of every section of society, he pointed out
“The National Unity Government makes no apologies for choosing the path of transparency, truth, justice, and reconciliation, upholding the dignity of all citizens. The future of our great nation will not have walls of fear and doubt that separate communities. Rather, it will be a bright, open and inclusive path that invites all to walk together side-by-side as equal citizens,” Samaraweera said.
(The featured image at the top shows Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera)