The Government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) took up antithetical positions over the recent recommendation made by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) in their report proposing a hybrid court with the participation of foreign judicial officers to try alleged international crimes.

The 11-Member Task Force appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and chaired by Attorney-at-Law Manouri Muttettuwegama in a report prepared following public consultations while explaining that there was a need for active international participation in the Special Court and the Office of Special Counsel, said that “as in other contexts of international participation on transitional justice mechanisms, internationals should be phased out once trust and confidence in exclusively national mechanisms, national capabilities and competence have been built up.”

The TNA last week called for the full implementation of the recommendations of the report. TNA MP Attorney-at-Law M.A. Sumanthiran speaking to Weekend Nation said that the undertakings of the government in the UN resolution in 2015 must be fully implemented. “It is a resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka. The manner in which they would be implemented is also in the undertaking,” he said.

Sumanthiran pointed out that one of the pledges by the government was to consult the people. “They have consulted the people. Therefore, the recommendations of the CTF also are in consonance with the undertaking to the UN. So these recommendations have to be implemented,” he said.

Sumanthiran further pointed out that the TNA had no faith in the judiciary and therefore has been pushing for international involvement in the probe. He said that while several Tamil politicians had called for a fully-fledged international judicial mechanism, the TNA had called for a hybrid system.

“We thought it was not wise. For anything to take root in this country it must be set up by the laws of this country and the best possible model we could see was a hybrid model,” he said. Meanwhile, the Government reiterated that there was no requirement for foreign involvement in the process.

Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Karunarathna Paranawithana said that the Government’s position regarding the matter was crystal clear which meant that the Government was not in agreement with the said recommendation of the Task Force and would therefore not endorse it.

He however expressed confidence that Tamil politicians including the TNA as responsible public representatives who were fully aware of the changes made in the political landscape of the country and the quality of democracy established, would eventually come around to the Government’s line of reasoning in this regard.

Ministers Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse and Patali Champika Ranawaka have all echoed the same. The only foreign involvement the Government has acquiesced to includes the obtaining of assistance, advice (legal) and knowledge of experts on technical matters. (rlj & aw)