Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called upon the Government to work with the opposition to begin implementing the LLRC recommendations that have already received the approval of the opposition parties.
"A Parliamentary Select Committee was established in the background of the Government-TNA talks. We are not parties to that discussion. Nevertheless, we have offered to participate in the Select Committee if the Government will accept our motion to amend the terms of reference by including the LLRC report. We are for a Sri Lankan solution," he told the Sunday Times on the eve of the UNHRC sessions beginning in Geneva tomorrow.
He said the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC referred to the implementation of the constructive recommendations of the LLRC. "If the Government is responsible it will determine what is constructive. Our position is different. The implementation of the report must be based on consensus arrived at between the Government and the opposition," he said.
The Opposition Leader said the US resolution would have no legal effect even if passed by the UNHRC, and pointed out that it gave preference to the domestic process as against an international process. "The Government has a point when it says it needs more time to implement the recommendations of the LLRC but the actions over the past few weeks have destroyed the Government's credibility," he said.
"The UNP's response (to the LLRC Report) was sent to the President on the 9th of February. We did not receive a reply. Instead we are accused of vilifying the Government. Minister G.L. Peiris complained to a senior member of the UNP that we are attempting to undermine him in Geneva.
That is an impossibility. The contradictory statements of the minister have already undermined the position of the Government," he said. "When I was Prime Minister I declined to sign the Statute of Rome. Therefore, no citizens of Sri Lanka including our President can be taken to the International Criminal Court," he pointed out.
"On the other hand, the Government has already acknowledged a connection between the UN Panel of Experts report and the LLRC report when the Minister of External Affairs wrote to the UN Secretary General on February 15, 2011 stating 'that there should be a seamless connectivity between your approach and that of the LLRC'. This was followed up with the Government making written submissions to the UN Secretary General that 'members of the Armed Forces suspected of violations under the Army, Navy and Air Force Acts can be brought to justice by the mechanism of a court martial or tried in civilian courts. Several cases have been filed'...,
"This is a written submission made to the UN Panel which is mandated to advise the Secretary General on the modalities applicable to international standards and comparative experiences relevant to the fulfillment of the joint commitment on accountability process between the Sri Lankan Government and the UN Secretary General having regard to the scope and nature of the alleged violations.
"In other words, the Government accepted the mandate of the Panel. Furthermore, the Government also declared its willingness to discuss this issue bilaterally with any friendly country," Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
The Government has already accepted international jurisdiction on this issue, he said.