Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that the resolution co-sponsored by the US and Sri Lanka placed before the UNHRC would pave the way to bring about a Sri Lankan solution to the question of reconciliation and accountability during the last stages of the war.
At a meeting with Newspaper Editors and media organization heads at Temple Trees, he said in line with the resolution a Special Counsel’s office would be established and a Sri Lankan would be appointed to it. The Special Counsel’s office would inquire into the cases concerning allegations of human rights violations.
The Prime Minister said apart from the Special Counsel’s Office the other most important measure would be to establish a Truth Commission and a Compassionate Council. This he said would be done with input from South Africa through the good offices of its President Jacob Zuma. A measure that the previous regime too initiated but did not carry forward. The Compassionate Council will comprise nominees by the Most Venerable Mahanayake Theras and other religious heads in the country.
The Prime Minister said cases would be probed by the Special Counsel’s Office and would be referred to the Truth Commission and the Compassionate Council where necessary and on exceptional cases to the courts to be prosecuted.
He said on such occasions the cases would be heard under a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism through a court that would be established for this purpose. "If the services of Commonwealth or other judges are sought and if foreign lawyers are to appear it has to be decided by Sri Lanka's Supreme Court," the Prime Minister said and added that new laws for the establishment of a Special Counsel’s Office and the necessary Judicial mechanism would be introduced through Parliament.
He said with the new resolution before the UNHRC, the entire international community would stand behind Sri Lanka and back its efforts at reconciliation. The Prime Minister said most of the contents of the resolution were those proposed by Sri Lanka.
He found fault with the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa government of giving pledges to the UNHRC soon after the war ended and thereafter not following up on the very pledges given by it and thus place the country in a grave situation.
The Prime Minister said the resolution also spoke of democracy and good governance and it was an occasion to restore faith in Sri Lanka's democratic system.
When asked whether the resolution had mentioned anything about withdrawing troops out of the North and East, the Prime Minister said there was nothing like that.
He said there were discussions when drafting the resolution and there were various suggestions and added that some EU countries were of the view that Human Rights came before the sovereignty of a county, whereas India and the US maintained that Human Rights comes after Sovereignty. The Prime Minister said China and Russia had maintained that sovereignty was first and as such there should not be any foreign intervention. He said these views had been discussed and the resolution had been finalised after such discussions.
The Prime Minister said the atrocities committed by the LTTE were also highlighted and particularly about the Tamil political leadership, which was wiped out by the LTTE. He said the biggest damage done by the LTTE was to the Tamil community.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva also attended the meeting.