Domestic mechanism mandated under UNHRC Resolution:
We want to restore the good name of war heroes - Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe
Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe says the rejection of the
proposed domestic mechanism by members of the Mahinda Rajapaksa group, a
call which is echoed by the LTTE Diaspora can only imply one thing - the
two factions are working hand in glove.
Q: Dissidents of the UPFA in the joint opposition claims that the
domestic mechanism mandated by the A/HRC/30/L.29 US resolution is a
sugar-coated pill on Sri Lanka. Your comments?
A:Our government did not ask for any mechanism on Sri Lanka. It was
called for by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, four days after the
conclusion of the war by having an agreement with UN Secretaty General
Ban ki Moon. One week after the conclusion of the war, former Ambassador
in Geneva Dayan Jayatilleke, for the first time in history, volunteered
to bring a Resolution in respect of his own country.
They divided the international community at the Council in that
vote.In this Resolution the Government volunteered to ensure
accountability according to international standard. This meant they
volunteered for some kind of mechanism. When we took the reins in
January this year, member states of the Human Rights Council had decided
on an international mechanism. The former Government had requested for a
With the help of all stakeholders of the previous Resolutions on Sri
Lanka, we convinced the Council, that Sri Lanka is now in a position to
conduct an independent domestic probe into the allegations against it.
Mahinda Rajapaksa went to Geneva twice in 1989 and 1990 to ask for an
international mechanism to look into the country’s internal affairs.
As a result of his pleas in Geneva, since 1989 to 1994, until
Chandrika Kumaratunga’s election, many international organisations
deprived Sri Lanka of monetary assistance or loans. All these are
consequences of their own conduct. What we did as a Government was to
mitigate the effects of their actions.
If the Opposition read the agreement dated May 23, 2009 between
Mahinda Rajapaksa and UN Secretary General and if they peruse Dayan
Jayatilleke’s resolution of May 26, 2009, they would not make such
Q: The joint opposition says Sri Lanka today is at peace due to the
bold decisions by the previous government. And the new Government must
take the country forward from there without taking a different stand at
the UNHRC and discussing war crimes ?
A:We have not taken up the position that there had been war crimes.
But the question is why did the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government agree to a
mechanism of inquiry, unless there had been war crimes, why did
Prof.G.L.Peiris thank UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for having the
Darusman Report, in which they talk about 40,000 civilian deaths and
white flag killings!
Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prof.G.L.Peiris thanked Ban ki Moon for
preparing that report which claimed war crimes against Sri Lanka.
Q: You deny their allegation that the Government took a U-turn at the
UN Human Rights Council sessions in September, jeopardizing the
country’s sovereignty ?
We straightened the U-turn taken by the former regime. I would like
to put it that way. The Human Rights High Commissioner’s report was to
come out with a long list of names and various damning allegations
against those people.
In view of the policy we adopted during the past eight months and due
to the genuine commitment shown, the Government diluted it and got a
Q: They are accusing the government of willingly giving into
international pressure and getting on their bandwagon?
A:This is just childish talk.
Q: What have you got to say about the allegation that the domestic
mechanism is going to be a witch-hunt?
A:War heroes were betrayed by the former government and we are trying
to redeem their good name.
Q: The Opposition says although there is big fanfare on the All Party
Conference (APC) which is said to have been mooted to discuss the
modalities of the proposed domestic mechanism, they are yet to know what
A:This entire thing is something that was set in motion by the
previous government. They had been talking about a domestic mechanism to
probe allegations of war crimes. We have inherited this problem, not
that we invented it.
The idea is to put the contents of the Resolution before Parliament
and let Parliament decide as to how we should proceed. People’s
representatives will decide as to how it should be done. We are not
going to do it at home.
Q: Will it be brought before Parliament shortly?
A:There is no scheduled date as yet. Within the next couple of months
we will have to attend to that. It is a matter of national interest and
we will certainly include civil society and all stakeholders in evolving
a domestic mechanism.
We have the best interests of the country at heart. This is not an
attempt to betray the country or the war heroes.
Q: Tamil Nadu politicians who are extra sensitive to the issues of
Sri Lankan Tamils have rejected this domestic mechanism and criticised
India’s central Government for backing the UNHRC resolution on Sri
Lanka. Your comments?
A:We are dealing only with the central Government. Foreign policy is
a matter for the central Government.
Q: Even hardcore Tamil diaspora groups are rallying against the
domestic mechanism. Is the Government going to take their concerns on
A:Their objections prove that whatever call made to the UNHRC has not
been answered. They are not satisfied with the outcome at the last UNHRC
session. What is interesting is, part of the Mahinda Rajapaksa
Government is also opposing the domestic mechanism. Does it mean that
the LTTE diaspora and the Mahinda Rajapaksa group are on one side?