The proposed judicial mechanism to try alleged war crimes is also likely to probe into the weapons and munitions that were used during the terminal phase of the war.
When queried as to whether a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, as in the past, would be appointed to look into the procurement of weapons and munitions during the final phase of the conflict, Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneratne said that the proposed judicial mechanism would incorporate that aspect within the overall framework.
“I don’t think we need a separate commission to look into those issues. The Government has already proposed a mechanism. Therefore, all these issues would be incorporated within that system,” Dr. Senaratne told Nation.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al-Hussein in his oral submissions to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 12 mentioned the reports and allegations that have arisen pertaining to the usage of cluster bombs during the last stages of the conflict. In his submissions, he had pressed for credible investigations into these allegations.
Meanwhile, Minister of External Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera told reporters last week that the Government’s proposed truth seeking mechanism, the plan concerning which is to be put out in September, is presently being touted as the mechanism to be implemented to also probe the alleged use or non-use of cluster munitions during the terminal stages of the war. Previously, a Presidential Commission was appointed to Inquire into the Procurement of High Value Weapons, other Military Equipment and Services during 2000-2005, headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane and including former Supreme Court Judges, Justice N.K. Udalagama and N.E. Dissanayake.
A separate commission was also appointed to Inquire into matters arising out of the Procurement of High Value Weapons, other Military Equipment, Materials and Services during 2001-2005 by the Sri Lanka Navy with former Supreme Court Judge Justice N.G. Amaratunga as the sole member. Both commissions were appointed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into defence procurements covering the said periods when former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was the Minister of Defence and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Neither report has been made public yet.