Domestic mechanism to be finalized by January next year


The Government said on Thursday (17) that it hopes to set up a domestic mechanism to investigate the allegations of war crimes.

The move came a day after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, released a report at the Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, calling on the new Government to set up a special hybrid court which includes international judges and lawyers to investigate war abuses which allegedly took place during the island nation's civil war.


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told journalists on Thursday in the capital that the Government is confident of obtaining the international support for a domestic inquiry which would be finalized within the next 18-months.


"We hope to initiate the process of taking the domestic mechanism forward and the first and the most important part of the process is the consultation process which we hope to commence by the second week of October," the Minister said. "We hope to continue the consultation process towards the end of January and from then onwards we will start implementing the final ideas which will come through this process. And of course we have informed the Human Rights Council that we want to put all this into place within maximum 18 months," he said.


He further added that international experts could play a role in technical and advisory capacities in this domestic mechanism. The Sri Lankan Government also hopes to address the issue of a trust deficit which exists between the communities and said it would create certain institutions which would be able to win the trust and confidence of the parties concerned. Minister Mangala Samaraweera further assured justice for the victims of war, saying his Government would do everything possible to punish those found guilty of such crimes.


He further said that the UN report released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was 'well crafted and sobre' and the Government was happy to see that it had acknowledged the efforts taken by the new Government.