The US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka that calls for the participation of ‘Commonwealth and other foreign judges’ in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism that would be set up to address issues of accountability, was finally tabled at the UNHRC a short while ago following a series of negotiations between the Sri Lankan delegation and the ‘Core Group’ of sponsors of the resolution.
The resolution co-sponsored by UK, Macedonia and Montenegro, was due to be tabled today by 1pm in Geneva time, but experienced a setback due to prolonged negotiations over the language since objections were raised against certain paragraphs and wording included in the draft text by the Sri Lankan delegation.
The resolution while welcoming the government’s recognition an accountability process to uphold the rule of law, appreciates the proposal made by the GoSL to establish a judicial mechanism with a Special Counsel to probe into allegations human rights and international humanitarian law violations. It also affirms the importance of having independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by personnel known for integrity and impartiality and has further noted the ‘importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators’.
The resolution has also welcomed the positive engagement between the GoSL and the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his office since the new government came into power.
The text also supports the government’s four-tiered accountability mechanism unveiled by Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera during his address at the opening event of the 30th UNHRC session.
Furthermore it notes that the commitments made by the government, if fully and credibly implemented, would ‘help account for serious crimes by all sides and help achieve reconciliation’.
The resolution has also recognised the need for accountability and reconciliation process for the violations and abuses committed by the LTTE as highlighted in the recently released OISL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) report.
Moreover, it has called for the OHCHR to continue to monitor Sri Lanka’s progress in the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes linked to reconciliation, accountability, and human rights and calls for the High Commissioner’s Office to present an oral update to the UNHRC at its 32nd session as well as a comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its 34th session. (Lakna Paranamanna)
Following is the resolution text in full: