Saturday, September 26, 2015

Resolution on Sri Lanka tabled at UN Human Rights Council; 'credible justice process' with 'Commonwealth and other foreign judges' agreed on

Resolution on Sri Lanka tabled at UN Human Rights Council; 'credible justice process' with 'Commonwealth and other foreign judges' agreed on

-- A resolution calling for a "credible justice process" with "Commonwealth and other foreign judges" in order to prosecute for mass atrocities committed during the final stages of the island's armed conflict has been tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

See the full text of the resolution here.

It calls for a "credible justice process" with "independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and  impartiality" and"Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators".

It also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to "present an oral update" to the Council at the 32nd session in June 2016 and present a "comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its 34th session" in March 2017. The OHCHR will also continue to assess progress on implementation of the recommendations listed in the OISL report.

The current text is a consensus resolution, which has been agreed on by the Sri Lankan government. It is due to be adopted by the Council by the end of this session.

The resolution "takes note with appreciation" the OISL report and supports the government commitment to engage in "broad national consultations with the inclusion of victims and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, from all affected communities that will inform the design and implementation of these processes, drawing on international expertise, assistance and best practices".

It also encouraged Sri Lanka to "reform its domestic law" to allow for "the trial and punishment of those most responsible for the full range of crimes under the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations relevant to violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law".

"The end of military involvement in civilian activities," was also highlighted in the resolution alongside "the resumption of livelihoods and the restoration of normality to civilian life". "The review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in line with contemporary international best practices," was also noted.

The resolution, which has been negotiated since the draft was released last week, was tabled by the US, UK, Macedonia and Montenegro. Sri Lanka had 
dismissed the initial draft as 'repetitive, judgemental and prescriptive' and had called for several key elements of the resolution to be removed.  

Tamil Guardian 24 September 2015

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