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Lanka rules out foreign judges in rights probe
April 06 2018 09:40 PM
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In this file photo, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena addresses a press conference in Colombo.

Agencies/Colombo

Sri Lanka yesterday ruled out any possibility of having foreign judges in its investigations on war time human rights abuses.
President Maithripala Sirisena told the media yesterday that Sri Lanka’s position was clearly communicated to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva last month.
Sri Lanka was represented at the Geneva session by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana and ministers Sarath Amunugama and Faizer Mustapha.
At the UNHRC last month some countries, including Canada called on Sri Lanka to fulfil its international commitments by ensuring the involvement of Commonwealth and international investigators, prosecutors and judges in the accountability process.
The Canadian delegation in Geneva had said that Canada was disappointed by the slow progress in implementing commitments to advance peace and reconciliation, political stability, human rights and accountability.
Canada reiterated the desire for the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that a process of accountability is established that will have the trust and confidence 
of the victims of this war.
Some Tamil groups have been saying that without the participation of foreign judges the accountability process will not be seen as being credible.
Breakthrough after top sleuth’s arrest: The long-delayed arrest of the head of the military intelligence directorate has led to a breakthrough in solving the Keith Noyahr abduction case which is directly linked to several other attacks, police said yesterday.
Retired major general Amal Karunasekera was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) as he was undergoing treatment at an army hospital, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.
Gunasekera said Karunasekera, who was the director of the military intelligence was arrested in connection with the May 22, 2008 abduction and assault of Noyahr who at the time was an editor of the Nation newspaper.
However, official sources said the former head of the DMI was under investigation for the Noyahr abduction as well as several other connected cases, including the assassination of Sunday Leader founding editor Lasantha Wickrematunga.
“This arrest marks an important breakthrough in the case,” an official source said.
Investigators have found that the members of the DMI were directly involved in high-profile killings and abductions during the former regime and many of them are currently on bail.
Evidence gathered so far showed that police as well as judicial medical officers had colluded to cover up almost all the cases. Several senior police officers are currently facing prosecution for their roles in destroying evidence or subverting 
investigations.
The then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse has denied involvement in the killings and also maintained he had no command responsibility over the intelligence units and has shifted the blame to his army chief Sarath Fonseka.
For his part, Fonseka has said the intelligence units that operated outside the northern and eastern war zones were not under his command.






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