The Human Rights Council must help Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations; the Government is protecting the perpetrators: Amnesty International’s written statement to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council (3 – 28 March 2014)
…The Government of Sri Lanka has not initiated a credible investigative process and has not made demonstrable progress towards prosecution of alleged perpetrators. It continues to rely on forces allegedly responsible for serious violations to police themselves. In 2013, an army court of inquiry exonerated the Sri Lankan military for civilian casualties in the last stage of military operations, concluding that any casualties that occurred were the fault of the LTTE. The report remains unpublished. A second army inquiry into alleged extrajudicial executions of individuals who surrendered to or were captured by the Sri Lankan military in the final days of conflict was initiated in March 2013, but by the end of 2013 investigators had not even interviewed witnesses other than army field commanders.1…
Amnesty International urges the HRC to ensure:
• an independent international investigation into allegations of crimes under international law committed by Sri Lankan government forces and allied armed groups as well as by the LTTE. Where sufficient admissible evidence exists, the international community must ensure that those suspected of the crimes are prosecuted in genuine proceedings in full conformity with international standards for fair trial;
• ongoing international monitoring of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including of the effectiveness of any domestic judicial or other processes; and
• strengthened UN measures to prevent intimidation or reprisals by or tolerated by the Sri Lankan government against individuals who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.
Amnesty International reiterates its call to the Government of Sri Lanka to:
• Ensure that all allegations of crimes under international law are fully investigated and, where sufficient admissible evidence exists, those suspected of the crimes are prosecuted in genuine proceedings before independent and impartial courts that comply with international standards for fair trial;
• Ensure the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, and demonstrate unequivocally that harassment, intimidation and attacks against individuals or groups of individuals exercising those rights will not be tolerated, regardless of the opinions such individuals hold and express, and regardless of the position or political affiliation of the suspected perpetrator;
• Take all measures necessary to end attacks on minority businesses and places of worship and punish attackers in accordance with the law; and
• Cooperate fully with the UN special procedures including by responding positively to their outstanding requests to visit Sri Lanka and by providing them with full access.