UN High Commissioner Welcomes Hybrid Court: Reconciliation Or More Jeopardy?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has welcomed the report published by the Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms earlier this week.

The UN High Commissioner welcomed the recommendations in the report especially pertaining to the implementation of a hybrid Court with the inclusion of local and foreign judges.

Sri Lankan Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) has recommended that the proposed Judicial Mechanism (JM) to try cases of war crimes have at least one foreign judge in every bench.

But it made it a point to add that the majority of the judges will be Sri Lankan. In the report made public on Thursday, the CTFRM stated that this recommendation is in line with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution of 2015 which Sri Lanka co-sponsored.

The CTFRM, headed by Manori Muttetuwegama, also recommended the participation of foreign personnel in investigation and prosecution. But the foreign personnel should first be vetted in terms of experience, integrity, and knowledge of local languages and social customs.

It said that the Special Court or Judicial Mechanism should have its own investigating team which should exclude personnel of the Sri Lankan Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) to avoid pre-judging of issues.

However, earlier the government reiterated its stance that international judges will not be included in the country’s judicial processes.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said that the government will not consent to a the inclusion of foreign judges adding even the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights consented to the government’s decision that all benches will comprise local judges.

However High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein taking to his twitter account said he has always urged the creation of a hybrid Court in the island.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a report released in September 2015 highlighted and urged the creation of a hybrid special court in Sri Lanka.

The report said due to the levels of mistrust in State authorities and institutions by broad segments of Sri Lankan society, the establishment of a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, is essential.

The UN High Commissioner said purely domestic Court procedure will have no chance of overcoming widespread and justifiable suspicions fuelled by decades of violations, malpractice and broken promises.


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