Sri Lanka: war crimes resolution at UN is 'turning point'

Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to have died in the final weeks of the conflict with the Tamil Tigers © Private
‘Sri Lanka has time and time again shown it is both unwilling and unable to investigate war crimes allegations against its own forces’ - David Griffiths
 
A crucial resolution adopted at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today offers the victims of Sri Lanka’s recent armed conflict the prospect of finally getting the truth and justice they deserve, Amnesty International said. 
 
The resolution, adopted without a vote by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, follows the publication earlier this month of a UN report into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights by all sides during the long-running conflict.   
 
Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director David Griffiths said:
 
“The adoption of this resolution is a turning point for human rights in Sri Lanka, and crucially recognises terrible crimes committed by both parties during the armed conflict. 
 
“The resolution calls for international judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to ensure the credibility of the justice process - this is crucial. 
 
“Sri Lanka has time and time again shown it is both unwilling and unable to investigate war crimes allegations against its own forces or hold perpetrators of grave abuses to account. 
 
“Any accountability process must have an international component for it to have any credibility, as well as to provide the necessary skills and expertise. The Sri Lankan authorities must undertake a wide range of institutional reform, including to strengthen witness protection which today falls far short of what is required.
 
“Although far from perfect, if the resolution and the underlying commitments of Sri Lanka’s government are implemented in good faith, it presents an opportunity for victims to finally get the truth and justice they have been waiting for.”
 

New Sri Lankan government

In January, Amnesty called on the newly-elected president Maithripala Sirisena to ensure that his government dealt with a legacy of unresolved human right issues in the country, including a lack of accountability over the conflict with the LTTE (Tamil Tiger) armed group. 
 

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