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Tamil Lawyers Forum Urges UNHRC to Refer Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court. Extention of Time will Deny Justice
Published Date: 07/02/2019 (Thursday)

Despite facing serious challenges, Tamil Lawyers Forum have been defending Tamil political victims for over twenty years.

In an appeal to UN High-commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria and to UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Tamil Lawyers Forum urged Sri Lanka be referred to International Criminal Court (ICC) and not to give any additional time to Sri Lanka, when Sri Lanka come up for review at the upcoming UNHRC Session in March 2019.

Despite facing serious challenges, Tamil Lawyers Forum have been defending Tamil victims of enforced disappearances, extra judicial executions, political imprisonment and other abuses perpetrated by the Sri Lanka Security Forces over the last twenty years.

The appeal stated the following:

The upcoming March 2019 Session of the UN Human Rights Council will assess whether Sri Lanka have fulfilled its obligation to the Council outlined in the Resolution 34/1 which Sri Lanka cosponsored and was passed unanimously by the Council on March 2017. This Resolution was necessitated when Sri Lanka failed to fulfil its obligation on an earlier Resolution 30/1 on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the final months of the war that ended ten years ago on May 2009.

As requested by Sri Lanka, the Resolution 34/1 gave a two year extension of time to fulfill its obligation. One of the main requirements of the Resolution is for Sri Lanka to establish a Hybrid Court consisting of international judges and prosecutors. The two year extension of time given to Sri Lanka is coming to an end in few weeks’ time.

Despite cosponsoring the UNHRC Resolution 34/1 and committing itself to fulfill the requirements of the Resolution in two years’ time, Sri Lankan Government not only used diversionary tactics to mislead and delay the implementation, the Sri Lankan President and the Prime Minister have repeatedly and categorically said in public that they will not implement the main elements of the Resolution, including establishing a Hybrid Court consisting of International Judges and prosecutors.

Recently, one the main suspects named by the UN of committing War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, Major General Shevendra Silva was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Army. It should be noted that it was under his command that bombing and shelling of a place designated by the Government as safe zones (No Fire Zone) took place, resulting in tens of thousands killed. It is also under his command that large number of Tamils, including babies and children, surrendered about ten years ago at the end of the war in May 2009 and still remain disappeared.

In addition, several senior military officials who are credibly accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN and other international organizations were given promotions and sent as Ambassadors and senior diplomates to represent Sri Lanka in different countries and to the UN. One was even made a Cabinet Minister.

These actions by Sri Lanka called into question the sincerity of Sri Lanka when it cosponsored the Resolution 34/1 and whether Sri Lanka is acting in bad faith and try to hoodwink the UNHRC by not implementing the requirements of the Resolution, even after two year extension was given to that country in good faith by UNHRC.

Due to Sri Lanka’s misleading and delaying tactics to avoid fulfilling the main requirements of Resolutions 34/1 and 30/1, it is time to explore other avenues to get justice. Giving any more time to Sri Lanka will be a nonstarter and would embolden Sri Lankan Security Forces to continue their abuses against Tamils and destroy vital war crimes evidences. This will also serve as a road map for other countries to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity without any fear, fully well knowing that they will escape accountability by following Sri Lanka’s path.

Giving any more time will result in Tamils not getting justice for the horrendous atrocities committed by the Srilankan state and it’s Security Forces.

We urge that Sri Lanka be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or to a specially created international criminal tribunal for Sri Lanka.

In addition, we urge to appoint a UN Special Rapporteur for Sri Lanka, to monitor and report to the Council every six months about the plight of the war affected and other international human rights and humanitarian issues.

Tamil Lawyers Forum
Mobile: +94-77-729-8300
Email: [email protected]

Tamil Lawyers Forum
+94 77 729 8300
email us here


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