Amidst confusions over the proposed mechanism to probe alleged war crimes, civil society organizations this week said that the international community was not obsessed with having foreign judges in a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to probe alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.
Secretary of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms and Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu speaking to the Nation said that the Government would have to convince the stakeholders if it opted against including internationals, especially foreign judges in the said mechanism.
“If the Government of Sri Lanka is definitely not going ahead with foreign judges it is up to the Government to negotiate and convince stakeholders regarding the matter and ensure that there will not be any adverse impact on the country as the result of it. If the Government is definitely not going to go ahead with having foreign judges, then the Government should inform the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of such a decision. The Government should then work towards building sufficient confidence and trust in a domestic mechanism, following which the Government should negotiate and convince the relevant parties,” he explained.
On the question of accountability and the presence of international judges in a wholly local process, Dr. Saravanamuttu further added that the only reason why the call for foreign involvement in the said mechanism was because a section of the Sri Lankan population including victims had in firm conviction expressed the view that an exclusively domestic mechanism would not be credible.
He also reminded that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was not a body that could impose sanctions while adding that it could however be done by individual countries in relation to, for an example bilateral agreements involving Sri Lanka.