JHU agrees with need for domestic war crimes inquiry

Friday, 25 September 2015 01:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

BUP_DFT_DFT-2-8JHU General Secretary and Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka at yesterday’s media briefing 

- Pic by Shehan Gunasekara


By Chamodi Gunawardana

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday said that there was a requirement for an investigation over war crimes in order to refute allegations levelled against military personnel. 

Revealing the JHU’s views on recently released report of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), JHU General Secretary and Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka stated that the investigation should conducted as an internal investigation with a local mechanism. 

“We must repair the damage which the OHCHR report has already done to our war heroes’ images. We must conduct an independent inquiry to do so. The investigation should be handled by local judges and be limited to Sri Lanka’s judicial system. In this inquiry the LTTE should be considered an invader,” he said.

“If we want we can get technical support from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in order to conduct an effective investigation,” he added.

Talking about the hybrid court concept recommended by the United Nations Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Ranawaka said the JHU disapproved of it.  

“The hybrid court would be controlled by foreign judges with an international legal structure. Most of the witnesses of war crimes inquiries will be Sinhalese and Tamil people so language will be an issue. Therefore, it would not be possible to expect an impartial inquiry from a hybrid court,” he noted.

The Minister further stated that the final decision of the Government regarding either accepting or rejecting the UNHR Chief’s proposals would be taken through Cabinet approval. 

“We must ignore political and racial differences in order to rebuild the image of our country. We should not allow the UNHRC to destroy our unity and peace. The last decision must be taken collectively,” he asserted. 

Ranawaka claimed that former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was the first person to introduce the hybrid concept to Sri Lanka not the UN. 

“Rajapaksa was the person who brought the hybrid concept for war crimes investigations by appointing the Maxwell Paranagama Presidential Commission to investigate complaints over missing persons with international involvement. The report of the commission has already been handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena,” he said.

“There is a clear change in the strategy the UN applies for us due to the new administration which came to power on 8 January. The UNHRC has watered down some strict actions of its general procedures,” the Minister stressed.