The Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel issues its Second Spot Report to coincide with the briefing of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, to the Human Rights Council at its 34th regular session.
Today the Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel (‘MAP’) issues its Second Spot Report. The international legal experts provide an independent assessment of the transitional justice efforts by the Sri Lankan Government, and recommendations going forward.
The Second Spot Report coincides with the briefing of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, to the Human Rights Council at its 34th regular session. The Sri Lankan Government will undoubtedly claim that much progress has been made to fulfil its commitments under the October 2015 Resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.’ The MAP’s assessment, however, demonstrates the opposite. In fact:
“It has become increasingly obvious in recent months that what little political will existed on the part of the current Government of Sri Lanka one year ago has now evaporated, almost entirely. Seemingly, the Sirisena administration has been acting in bad faith for some time with respect to its commitments under the HRC Resolution.”
Whilst international justice processes can take a long time to implement, the Government of Sri Lanka could and should have made significant progress by now. Yet not a single concrete step has been taken towards establishing a war crimes court. Considering the scale and brutality of the crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, this inaction amounts to an unconscionable violation of Sri Lanka’s obligations to its victims. This has led the MAP to recommend, amongst other actions, that:
“Should the Government of Sri Lanka continue to act in bad faith and/or fail to take significant steps towards implementing the word and spirit of HRC Resolution 30/1, the United Nations Security Council should, within one year, refer the Sri Lanka situation to the International Criminal Court.”
On 28 February 2017, the Monitoring Accountability Panel (“MAP”) will issue its Second Spot Report, which will coincide with the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council (the ‘HRC’) scheduled for 27 February to 24 March 2017 in Geneva. In the 27-page report, the MAP’s international legal experts will outline their assessment of the Sri Lankan Government’s transitional justice efforts to date, and provide recommendations going forward.
Since co-sponsoring the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,’ (A/HRC/30/L.29, October 2015), the Sri Lankan President and Government Ministers have backtracked on their commitments to implement effectively the four transitional justice pillars. In particular, the Sri Lankan Government has reversed its own pledge to include foreign judges and prosecutors in a special war crimes court, and appears intent on ignoring legitimate recommendations of the Consultation Task Force.
In its Second Spot Report, the MAP will analyse these and other issues and provide its views on whether or not the Sri Lankan Government has fulfilled its legal obligations to the victims of mass human rights abuses.
The Final Report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) was completed on November 2016.
Volume I of the Final Report contains the CTF’s observations during the consultation process, as well as their recommendations regarding the four transitional justice mechanisms: Office of Reparations; Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-Recurrence Commission; Office on Missing Persons; and Judicial Mechanism.
Volume II contains the reports of the Zonal Task Forces submitted to the CTF after the conclusion of public meetings and focus group discussions in the zones.
The Final Report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) was completed on November 2016. The Final Report contains the CTF’s observations and recommendations regarding the four transitional justice mechanisms proposed by the Government of Sri Lanka, as well as a summary of the submissions.
The Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms conducted public consultations on the design of transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka. The Interim Report provides a summary of the submissions as well as recommendations regarding the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons.
During the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein gave an oral update on the reconciliation, accountability and human rights process in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, expressed the government’s position on the matter.
On 22 June 2016, during the 32nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, legal experts from the Monitoring Accountability Panel (“MAP”) gave their assessment of the Sri Lankan Government’s transitional justice programme to date.
The panel discussion was chaired by eminent jurist, Geoffrey Robertson QC, and included a detailed assessment by US lawyer, Ms Heather Ryan. The full presentation can be found here:
Ms Heather Ryan’s intervention starts at 15:40, below: