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.”
The Second Spot Report can be found here: