With its new leaders promising to put Sri Lanka on a path towards reform and reconciliation, justice for grave crimes must not be neglected. By joining the ICC, Sri Lanka can signal to its citizens and the international community that it is ready to break away from impunity and its violent past. Add your voice now.
Six years after the end of its 26-year long civil war, victims of grave crimes from all sides are still awaiting justice. The Sri Lankan government must no longer turn its back on its responsibility to protect its citizens.
That’s why we’re calling on recently inaugurated Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena to accede to the ICC Rome Statute part of our Campaign for Global Justice this month.
Amielle Del Rosario, Coalition Asia-Pacific regional coordinator
“Sri Lanka’s new leaders have a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate a ability and willingness to usher in an era of true reconciliation based on justice and dignity for all its citizens. Sri Lankans deserve real reform. To restore the confidence of its citizens and to show the rest of the world that it is on the path to greater stability and development, it must sign the Rome Statute as a measure of good faith”.
Niran Anketell, head of the legal and justice unit for the South Asian Centre for Legal Studies based in Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka’s record of domestic accountability throughout its post-independence history has been characterized by a lack of political will, lack of capacity, political interference and chronic failure. This is why international participation in any in-country accountability mechanisms is crucial. For the new government to secure the trust of its citizens, Sri Lanka needs to break dramatically with the past. A process of attributing criminal liability for the most egregious crimes is a necessary starting point.”
This week, we sent a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe calling on their newly formed government to ratify the Rome Statute and explaining the ways that the Rome Statute would be able to help empower Sri Lanka’s domestic capacity to investigate and prosecute the worst crimes.
The Rome Statute system also has ground-breaking provisions regarding witness protection and victim participation, which should be at the heart of any accountability process.
Later this month, the long-awaited report of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on alleged human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka will be released and discussed at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council.
Sri Lankan civil society hopes that the report will take a strong position on the need for credible measures towards accountability, and that it include the recommendation to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, as well as the introduction of enabling domestic legislation.
Any further delays towards the establishment of a framework based on the rule of law and protects its citizens from the worst crimes will severely undermine the expectations and confidence invested by victims and civil society in accountability and convey a message of condoning impunity. Sri Lanka must break away from its violent by and joining the ICC system of international justice.