Oct 13, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka required a hybrid court to investigate alleged human rights violations committed during the last stage of war, a human rights lawyer said.
“When they are proposing a hybrid court, as an experienced lawyer I liked it,” Chairman of Transparency International of Sri Lanka J C Weliamuna said.
“I believe our judicial system need to change; at least the lawyers should have a faith over the justice.”
Weliamuna was speaking at a media seminar organized by the Government Information Department to educate media about the Geneva resolution.
He said the hybrid system is not a new experience for Sri Lanka as our law is based on the Roman Dutch law which is also a hybrid one.
“Our bank law is also from England and even the human rights law we are talking about is not a Sri Lankan law. It is international law,” he said.
“Even today our Supreme Court judges work at the Supreme Court of Fiji; there are also two Sri Lankan judges still working in international criminal courts.”
Weliamuna said the country needs a hybrid court not because of the international pressure but to address the people of the country including Tamils and Sinhalese.
He further stated that Sri Lanka even had hybrid or joint inquiries several times in the history.
“Two members of the three judges who represented the commission inquiring the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike were foreign judges,”
“Even the Privy Council was a hybrid court, it even had Sri Lankan judges. So at that time people may realize justice than today,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said at the the seminar that the hybrid excluded co-sponsored resolution in Geneva was a victory of the country.
“This middle path co-sponsored resolution has the majority backing even in the Parliament.”
Deputy Foreign Minister said the last resolution has the support of UNP and its affiliated parties, TNA and the majority of the SLFP.
Weliamuna said the government should sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which allows investigation of alleged genocide and war crimes.
“That’s only the stance of Mr. Weliamuna but not the stance of the government,” de Silva said.
Under the Rome Statute, the ICC can only investigate and prosecute where states are “unable” or “unwilling” to do so themselves.
The court has jurisdiction over crimes only if they are committed in the territory of a state party or if they are committed by a national of a state party.
An exception to this rule is that the ICC may also have jurisdiction over crimes if its jurisdiction is authorized by the United Nations Security Council.