Jan 04, 2017

'Foreign judges recommended for judicial mechanisms' Featured

The Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister on 26 January 2016 has handed over its complete report to the Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday.
In its report the Task Force has recommended including at least one international judge in the judicial process seeking accountability for the war time abuses during the last phase of the country's decades-long civil war.

In accordance with the UN consensus resolution Sri Lankan government plans to finalize the mechanisms needed to achieve reconciliation and accountability investigating the allegations of human rights violations and war crimes.

The Task Force recommends including foreign judges, one judge at minimum in each of the mechanisms in the area of accountability, according to a report in 'BBC Sandeshaya'.

The Task Force also recommends including foreign experts among the staff of its Special Advisory Office.

It also recommended including both male and female judges and judges representing all ethnic communities in the country in the judicial mechanisms.

The Task force recommended creating a special structure for women and children during examination of witnesses and focus special attention on sexual crimes and crimes against children.

Recommendations also say that the international crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanitarian law, torture, disappearances and rape are serious human rights abuses and it is illegal to forgive such crimes.

Making an emotional speech at the occasion, the Chairperson of the Task Force lawyer Manouri Muttetuwegama stressed the need to "heal the wounds of the fractured Sri Lankan society."

The report was scheduled to be handed over to the President Maithripala Sirisena but the President was not present due to an illness. Former President and Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Minister D.M. Swaminathan were present at the occasion.

The Consultation task Force plans to post the final report on its website shortly.