Foreign Judges in Lanka Probe a Must: US Envoy
Global Tamil Forum ‘disappointed’ over Prez ruling out external role in investigation
by P K Balachandran
The involvement of foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators is a must for a credible Sri Lankan probe into war crimes charges, said Keith Harper, US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
In a terse but strong tweet on Tuesday, Harper said: “Credibility of any accountability mechanism requires involvement of foreign judges etc. That has not changed and will not change.”
The US envoy was reacting to Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement in an interview to the BBC Sinhalese service on January 21 that there is no room for foreigners’ involvement in the proposed judicial mechanism to investigate and try war crimes cases because Lanka has the required experts and that outsiders should not get involved in Lanka’s domestic affairs.
His government had given a written pledge to the UNHRC in October 2015 that it would allow foreign involvement. But four days later, he said that the country had to stick to promises made to the world.
The Global Tamil Forum has said that it is “deeply concerned and disappointed” over Sirisena’s views. However, the TNA is treading cautiously. One of its top leaders told Express, “We will take it up with the President privately.”