Joan Ryan – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Joan Ryan on 2016-01-28.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Sri Lankan and (b) UN Human Rights Council counterparts regarding the announcement by Sri Lanka’s President Sirisena that foreign judges will not be involved in the inquiry into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr Hugo Swire

The British Government has always been clear that any accountability mechanism needs to be credible and meet international standards. I therefore welcomed the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in October 2015, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, which called for the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorised prosecutors and investigators, in Sri Lanka’s judicial accountability process. During my most recent visit to Sri Lanka on 14 to 17 January I discussed the importance of an international element in Sri Lanka’s accountability process with both Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Samaraweera. I also wrote to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 28 January to reiterate the UK Government’s commitment to working with the UN, Sri Lanka and our other international partners to ensure full implementation of the UNHRC resolution.