Sri Lanka PM requests Tamils to “forget the past” on war crimes (VIDEO)

By Athula Vithanage

War affected Tamils who have been denied justice for nearly a decade were asked to give up their pursuit for accountability by the Sri Lankan prime minister.

“We have all been affected, let’s forget the past and move forward,” said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing a meeting to review development in the war torn Kilinochchi district.

The appeal came on the eve of the oncoming global rights body sessions in Geneva, while relatives of disappeared in the north were awaiting the carbon dating results of the country’s largest mass grave found in Mannar.

Following his parliamentary victory in 2015, Wickremesinghe’s government in a co-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council pledged to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

The steps included a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the special counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators.

After four years of inaction to prosecute the armed forces accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, PM Wickremesinghe made it clear that the government has no intention of establishing accountability.

“We can’t go on filing cases. There needs to be reconciliation. Let us speak the truth, express our regret, seek forgiveness and finish most of the work.”

Ranil Wickremesinghe was claiming that South Africa moved forward by adopting such a policy.

The PM’s request came two days after Sri Lanka’s war time defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa acknowledged that the country’s intelligence units were involved in unlawful abductions and extrajudicial killings.

'What truth?'

However, a senior Tamil politician in the north rejecting the prime ministers claim recalled that South Africa established a truth commission only after the apartheid regime was replaced by a majority black government led by Nelson Mandela.

“The Tamils are yet to receive the provincial powers adopted by the constitution more than 30 years ago,” said former parliamentarian MK Sivajilingam.

“Is the PM prepared to accept the truth that tens of thousands of innocent Tamils were killed by government troops, hospitals, food queues and no fire zones were bombed, those who surrendered were tortured and made to disappear or killed?”

Once such truths are established, victims waiting for justice for nearly a decade can decide the way forward, added Sivajilingam.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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