Secretary of the Consultation Task Force (CTF) of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu said the Government would have to incorporate foreign judges to probe allegations of war crimes, if the majority of the public submissions to CTF supported their inclusion.

Responding to a query concerning the possible conflict that would arise from such a position being taken up by the public when Executive President Maithripala Sirisena has reiterated that there will be no foreign judges on the benches of the local judiciary adjudicating on the matter of allegations of human rights violations, he added that since the Government was the final decision maker in this regard, if they were rejecting the public’s opinion on this matter, they would have to explain why.

We have not got any substantial submissions through the website (online) yet, he remarked, adding that presently orientations were being conducted for those who would be conducting the consultations at the ground level.

The 11 Member CTF has been tasked with the direction, design, creation, establishment and implementation of the country’s reconciliation mechanisms (like the Office of the Missing Persons, the Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-Recurrence Commission, the Judicial Mechanism, and the Office of Reparations) to achieve truth, justice, reparations and non-recurrence.

“Sirisena has stated the said position more than once. The public opinion will go into composing the design of the reconciliation mechanisms. It is the Government that decided to seek the public’s opinion in this regard. Therefore, if they are serious about this exercise, the people’s submissions must inform the design. If the public are in favour of foreign judges sitting, it is our duty to report this,” he explained.