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UK Prime Minister Liz Truss Urged to Help Refer Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court (ICC)

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss Urged to Help Refer Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court (ICC)

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss

“Anything Short of ICC Referral will Eliminate any Chance of Getting Justice & Encourage Security Forces to Commit Atrocities Against Tamils Without Hesitation”

Since UK is one of the Core-Group Countries for Sri Lanka at the UN human Rights Council, it is playing a leading role in drafting a Resolution on Sri Lanka at the Council.”

— UK Groups, including British Tamil Conservatives & Tamils for Labour

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, September 9, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Several UK groups, including British Tamil Conservatives and Tamils for Labour, have jointly urged UK Prime Minister Liz Truss to help Refer Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Since UK is one of the Core-Group Countries for Sri Lanka at the UN human Rights Council, it is playing a leading role in drafting a Resolution on Sri Lanka at the Council” said the joint letter.

The letter by these groups highlights UN High Commissioner for Human Rights call to Refer Sri Lanka to ICC that was reinforced by all four former UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, nine former UN Special Rapporteurs who had visited and written reports on Sri Lanka, and all three members of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka.

The letter further states that, “we as representatives of the Tamil Diaspora in the UK strongly believe that anything short of calling for the referral to ICC will permanently eliminate any chance of getting justice for the mass atrocities our people have faced. Additionally, this will encourage the security forces and government to commit mass atrocities against Tamil people without any hesitation.”

The letter highlights a joint letter written by major segments of Tamil community in Sri Lanka to Core-Group Countries on the urgency for the UN to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC: https://www.einpresswire.com/article/588451342

The letter also addresses the issue of UN Security Council veto as well: “Some people argue that referring Sri Lanka will be blocked at UN Security Council (UNSC). This argument is misleading since none of the UNSC Permanent members have indicated that they will veto any referral of Sri Lanka to ICC.”

“In addition, it should be noted that the same concern was raised previously in other situations, but UNHRC went ahead and urged UNSC to refer those countries to ICC.”

For example:

a) Sudan was referred to UNSC with recommendation to refer it to ICC. Even though Sudan is very mush close to China compared to Sri Lanka, China did not exercise its veto, resulting in Sudan being referred to ICC and then Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was served with ICC summons.

b) Similarly, North Korea was referred by UNHRC to ICC, despite very serious concern of China using its veto.

The letter concludes with a request:

“For the above reasons we, as representatives of the US Tamil Diaspora jointly urge you, as requested by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN officials, to call in your Resolution to urge UN Security Council to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC, as was in cases of North Korea and Sudan.”

BELOW, PLEASE FIND THE LETTER:

9 September, 2022

Rt. Hon. James Cleverly MP

Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

&

Hon. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon,

Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

CC:

Rt. Hon. Liz Truss

Prime Minister

Prime Minister’s Office, No 10 Downing Street United Kingdom

Rt Hon David Lammy

Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign,

Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office [email protected]

Rt Hon Keir Starmer

Leader of the Labour Party

[email protected]

Rt Hon Ed Davey

Leader of Liberal Democrats

[email protected]

Dear the Rt Hon James & Lord Ahmad,

Re: As a matter of urgency, UK Tamil organizations urge UN to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC)

As the UK takes the lead on Sri Lanka as members of the Sri Lanka Core Group at the UNHRC; we from the UK and global Tamil organisations write to you about our grave concerns of continued failure for accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed against the Tamil people.

Major segments of Tamil community in Sri Lanka have also unitedly reached out to the Core Group on Sri Lanka on the urgency for the UN to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC: https://www.einpresswire.com/article/588451342

During this Session, Sri Lanka will be evaluated about Sri Lanka’s compliance with UNHRC Resolutions. We urge you to present a strong determination for achieving accountability for atrocity crimes committed and continuing, even after 13 years at the end of arm conflict, by successive governments of Sri Lanka by calling for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), as recommended by UN High-Commissioner for human rights in her March 2021 report to UNHRC and reinforced by all four former UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, nine former Special Rapporteurs who had visited and written reports on Sri Lanka, and all three members of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka.

We as representatives of Tamil people strongly believe that anything short of calling for the referral to ICC will permanently eliminate any chance of getting justice for the mass atrocities we faced. Additionally, this will encourage the security forces and government to continue to commit mass atrocities against the Tamil people with impunity.

We collectively urge you to ensure that in the determination by the Core-Group on Sri Lanka to the UNHRC 51st Session clearly urge UN Security Council to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Background:

Within a week of the end of the armed ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, a joint communique was issued by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations at the conclusion of the U.N Secretary General’s visit to Sri Lanka on the 23rd of May 2009, which inter alia stated

“Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of Human Rights, in keeping with international Human Rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations. The Secretary-General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances”.

Sri Lanka has not taken any meaningful steps to address the above commitments in the last thirteen (13) years. During the intervening years the UNHRC has adopted seven (7) resolutions ending with UNHRC 46/1 in March 2021. Sri Lanka even co-sponsored some unanimously passed Resolutions, including one about establishing Hybrid-Courts with the participation of international judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers. Several years have passed, but Sri Lanka did not take any initiative to set up a Hybrid-Court as promised by the Government to UNHRC.

Furthermore, successive Sri Lankan Governments have adopted different tactics to drag the accountability process to hoodwink UNHRC.

In addition to not addressing the accountability issue, the government of Sri Lanka continues a program of oppression of Tamils, including continued enforced disappearance, torture, extra-judicial killing, keeping an extremely large military in Tamil areas despite thirteen years have passed since the war ended, land grab to settle Sinhalese in traditionally Tamil areas with the aim to transform Tamil areas into majority Sinhala Areas.

Recommendation by UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights and other senior UN officials:

Due to the serious nature of the atrocity crimes committed and successive Sri Lankan Governments’ evasive tactics to address accountability, UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to UNHRC on January 12, 2021urged the Council to take steps to refer Sri Lanka to ICC. This call was reinforced by several senior UN officials suggesting the same.

High-Commissioners report on Sri Lanka on Jan 12,2021,referring Sri Lanka to ICC states:

“Member states have a number of options to advance criminal accountability and provide measures of redress for victims. In addition to taking steps toward the referral of the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court, Member States can actively pursue investigation and prosecution of international crimes committed by all parties in Sri Lanka before their own national courts, including under the principles of extraterritorial or universal jurisdiction.” https://undocs.org/A/HRC/46/20

An open letter from 20 former high-level UN officials on February 18, 2021. The signatories included all four former UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, nine former Special Rapporteurs who had visited and written reports on Sri Lanka, and all three members of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka. This joint letter stated the following:

“The recently released report on Sri Lanka by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights underlines, yet again, the country’s lack of progress on justice and accountability. Based largely on an analysis of emerging trends, it makes a compelling case for decisive international action to ensure justice and accountability for mass human rights violations and atrocities in Sri Lanka as a central element of the search for sustained reconciliation and the prevention of the recurrence of rights abuses and conflict. Given the continued reluctance of the Sri Lankan Government to meaningfully uphold the human rights of all, only decisive, international action to ensure justice and accountability can interrupt Sri Lanka’s periodic cycles of violence.”

https://chrgi.org/wpcontent/uploads/2021/02/Sowing-the-Seeds-of-Conflict.pdf

Is it a valid argument that the UN Security Council will block a Referral of Sri Lanka to the ICC?

Some people argue that referring Sri Lanka will be blocked by some members in UN Security Council (UNSC). This argument is misleading since none of the UNSC Permanent members have indicated that they will veto any referral of Sri Lanka to ICC.

In addition, it should be noted that the same concern was raised previously in other situations, but UNHRC went ahead and urged UNSC to refer those countries to ICC.

For example:

a) Sudan was referred to UNSC with a recommendation to refer it to ICC. Even though Sudan is very much close to China compared to Sri Lanka, China did not exercise its veto, resulting in Sudan being referred to ICC and then Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir being served with ICC summons.

b) Similarly, North Korea was referred by UNHRC to ICC, despite the very serious concern of China using its veto.

Then the question arises why this excuse is being advanced against Sri Lanka being referred to ICC by UNHRC. The only logical conclusion for this argument is to protect Sri Lankan political leaders and military officers from facing justice for the mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people.

Request:

For the above reasons we, as representatives of the Tamil people, jointly urge you, as requested by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN officials, to call in your Resolution to urge UN Security Council to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC, as was in North Korea and Sudan.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

1. British Tamil Conservatives.

2. Tamils for Labour.

3. World Tamil Historical Society.

4. Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE).

5. International Center for Prevention and Prosecution of Genocide.

6. Centre for Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka (CTJSL) – UK.

7. Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) – UK.

8. Veera Thamizhar Munnani – UK.

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Article originally published on www.einpresswire.com as UK Prime Minister Liz Truss Urged to Help Refer Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court (ICC)

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