TNA delegation with Nisha Biswal and Tom Malinowski

The post-Geneva period has been quite a happening one as far as the Northern political front is concerned.

The conclusion of the 32nd sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council commenced fresh discussions on the judicial mechanism that is needed to be adopted to probe allegations of war crimes that were said to have been committed during the terminal phase of the war.

In addition, the post-Geneva period also saw a few high profile visits from countries such as China and the United States, the latter being of importance especially for the Northern political front.

Arthur WamananUS delegation
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal arrived in the country last week along with US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Tom Malinowski.

Biswal’s visit comes in the wake of fresh debates and arguments pertaining to the judicial mechanism that needs to be established to probe war crimes allegations.

There was a certain element of confusion over verious government statements on the involvement of foreign judges in the mechanism. Earlier, Minister of External Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka would go for foreign involvement. However, President Maithripala Sirisena said that no foreign involvement would be allowed.

Samaraweera had reportedly clarified his statement saying that he referred to international participation where Sri Lanka would have to seek expertise on certain aspects of the probe.

On the other hand, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has been firm on its demand to have international judges in the proposed judicial mechanism.

The Government is yet to decide on the mechanism and therefore, this particular subject can wait for a bit.

The situation at the moment is quite confusing due to the opposing views expressed from various quarters. Even though the government has clarified on its stance on the judicial mechanism to be adopted, it is yet to be seen how this proposed mechanism is going to take shape.

The TNA has said that it would adopt a wait and watch approach and see how the government intends to formulate the mechanism.

TNA discussions
For TNA, Biswal’s visit is another opportunity to convey its concerns over the current developments. The TNA, in fact, met with Biswal on July 13 and discussed on various issues.

The discussions were reportedly focused on the implementation of the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last year.

The TNA had expressed their dissatisfaction over the delay in implementing some clauses in the resolution.

In addition, the TNA, following its meeting with Biswal had reportedly said that the US was not applying enough pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to implement the resolution.  Biswal had reportedly told the TNA the US would assist the Government meet any challenges it faces in implementing the Geneva resolution.

Anandasangaree requests
Amidst all these developments, Leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and veteran politician V. Anandasangaree wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday (14) with certain suggestions with regard to the formation of the inquiry mechanism.
In his letter, Anandasangaree has urged the government to give importance to include female judges so that it would allow women to freely express their grief and concerns.
Such minute aspects are very much important if the mechanism is to be effective.

Diaspora participation
The importance of the participation of the Diaspora in the local reconciliation process was once again pointed out by a member of the Government.

It was reported that Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha de Silva had urged the Diaspora to be part of Sri Lanka’s process towards reconciliation.

It is important that Sri Lankans abroad have a say in what goes on Sri Lanka. All these people left the country for some reason or the other. Many of them fled during various stages of the war.

It is therefore important for the government to recognize the fact that they too are important stakeholders in this process.