Sri Lankan Committee Recommends Foreign Judges In War Crimes Investigations

The Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, appointed by Sri Lanka's government and headed by Manouri Muttetuwegama, has recommended that both local and international judges be appointed to the court that will investigate allegations of war crimes from the country's civil war.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights called for a hybrid court in 2015.

The civil war ended in 2009 when Sri Lanka's military crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought for an independent state for ethnic minority Tamils in the country's north and east. Both sides were accused of war crimes, particularly in the final months of fighting.

The recommendation for a hybrid court was made in a report released by the committee, which sought public views on the proposed mechanism for transitional justice and reconciliation.

The court should have "a majority of national judges as well as a sufficient number of international judges" to ensure at least one foreign judge per bench in case of absences, the task force's report said.

It also said foreigners should be part of the office of the Special Counsel of prosecutors and investigators and contribute technical assistance, Associated Press said.

"International participation should be phased out once trust and confidence in domestic mechanism are established and when the required expertise and capacity has been built up, nationally," the executive summary of the report also said.

Pic: UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein


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