The Office of the UN High Commissioner Human Rights (OHCHR) in its latest report on Sri Lanka recommended that the UN member states should probe and prosecute those allegedly responsible for war crimes and other violations in the absence of credible domestic processes.
The report titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ was made public yesterday and would be presented to the UNHR Council by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on March 20.
The report included recommendations to the Sri Lankan Government, to the UN and also to the member states.
One of the recommendations made to the member states was “Investigate and prosecute, wherever possible, in particular in accordance with universal jurisdiction principles, those allegedly responsible for such violations as torture, enforced disappearance, war crimes or crimes against humanity; and explore other options to advance accountability in the absence of credible domestic processes,”
The report also said the member states should continue to accompany Sri Lankans in their efforts to address past human rights violations by supporting the establishment of adequate systems of accountability, justice and reconciliation.
On the recommendations made on the Sri Lankan Government, the report said the government should Invite OHCHR to establish a full-fledged country office to monitor the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, to advise on the implementation of the recommendations made by the High Commissioner, the Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms, and to provide technical assistance.
The report said Sri Lanka should publicly issue unequivocal instructions to all branches of the military, intelligence and police forces that torture, sexual violence and other human rights violations are prohibited, and will be investigated and punished.
“A full-fledged vetting process, respecting due process, in order to remove from office security personnel and other public officials involved in human rights violations should be developed,” it said.
With regard to legislation and justice, High Commissioner Bachelet recommended that the government should accede to the additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions and to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
“Adopt legislation establishing a hybrid court to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law,” she said.
Meanwhile, she recommended the UN system to apply stringent vetting procedures to Sri Lankan police and military personnel in the selection of persons for peacekeeping operations, military exchanges and training programmes. (Lahiru Pothmulla)