For­eign Judges in Lanka Probe a Must: US En­voy

Global Tamil Fo­rum ‘dis­ap­pointed’ over Prez rul­ing out ex­ter­nal role in in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The New Indian Express - - TAMIL NADU/SOUTH -

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.”

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