Hybrid Special Court to also investigate frauds under the cover of war - Govt



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By Zacki Jabbar


The proposed Hybrid Special Court to investigate allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka during the period between February 21, 2002 to May 19, 2009 against the then government and the LTTE would also investigate frauds and corruption that had taken place under the cover of a raging war, the government said yesterday.


 Joint Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Report on the probe conducted by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) had also called for an inquiry into frauds and corruption that had taken place during the said period.


"Massive frauds and corruption that had been perpetrated under the guise of prosecuting a war, would also receive the due attention of the Hybrid Special Court to be established", Senaratne said  The report and recommendations of the UN OHCHR had not named any individuals but called for a credible domestic investigation into the accusations that had been levelled; he noted adding that there was no conclusion that war crimes had been committed.   


The Minister said that the UNHRC by calling for a Hybrid Special Court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, had only reiterated the need for an independent domestic mechanism assisted by foreign judges that could ensure justice for the affected persons regardless of the community they belonged to.


The government while assuring the UNHRC that the OHCHR Report and recommendations would receive due attention has emphasised that it represents a human rights and not criminal probe. "We fully recognise that the investigation on Sri Lanka represents a human rights and not criminal investigation. We will ensure that its content as well as recommendations receive due attention of the relevant authorities, including the new mechanisms that are envisaged to be set up", the Cabinet spokesman said.


It has also agreed on continued engagement with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and his office, as well as the systems and procedures of the UNHRC aimed at upholding the human rights of all Sri Lankans.


Pledging to ensure non-recurrence of the  allegations of rights violations, the government said it would commence a dialogue with all stake holders, especially victims of the conflict, communities, political parties, civil society representatives, military, bilateral partners and other international organisations in establishing mechanisms and measures that would  facilitate the right to know, right to justice, reparations and guaranteeing non-recurrence with a view to  achieving reconciliation and durable  peace.


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who represented  the country  at the  opening of the 30th Sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva  earlier this week, told a news conference in Colombo on Thursday,  that a ‘four-tier mechanism’ would be established in conformity with the UN OHCHR recommendations. 


"Consultations with the relevant parties aimed at establishing the proposed mechanisms would commence in October. It would be finalised in January 2016 and implemented within 18 months. We have undertaken this journey not because of international pressure, but since there is no other way", he added.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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