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June 23, 2017 [GMT]
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UK insists on credible war crimes probe
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

While the government says that there are variations to the manner in which allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE could be investigated, the United Kingdom yesterday emphasized the importance of independent and impartial institutions to ensure credibility of the process.

While the government says that there are variations to the manner in which allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE could be investigated, the United Kingdom yesterday emphasized the importance of independent and impartial institutions to ensure credibility of the process.


Asked as to what the United Kingdoms’s (UK) position was in the light of recent statements by leading figures in the Sri Lankan government ruling out the establishment of a Hybrid Court and how it would set about implementing the October 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) Resolution 30/1, titled "Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka", a spokesperson for the British High Commission in Colombo, told the "Sunday Island" that the UK remained committed to seeing Resolution 30/1 implemented in full through the establishment of a credible judicial mechanism.

"The UNHRC Resolution welcomed the proposal of the Government of Sri Lanka to establish a judicial mechanism to investigate allegations of abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. It affirmed the importance of independent and impartial institutions to the credibility of the mechanism and in this regard highlighted the importance of the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators", she said.

Asked if the U.K was satisfied with implementation of Resolution 30/1, which the U.S , U.K ,Yugoslav , Macedonia and Montenegro sponsored, along with co-sponsors Sri Lanka and 25 other countries, the spokesperson observed that welcome improvements had been made to the human rights situation since January 2015 but much remained to be done. "The UK will continue to support and encourage the Sri Lankan government to fully deliver the commitments it made," she said.

She recalled that in November 2015, the UK had committed £6.6 million over three years to support the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration’s ambitious reform agenda. That included work on police reform and training, defence engagement, supporting the UN’s work on reconciliation and peace building, inter-religious dialogue and mediation, capacity building on anti-bribery and the fight against corruption and de-mining in the northern province. Emphasizing the need for equitable and just governance for all Lankans, the spokesperson noted that the UK and wider international community were supporting the government’s efforts to implement its commitments on reconciliation, accountability, human rights and a political settlement to the national question.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in Colombo on Thursday that the UNHRC’s call for Commonwealth or other foreign judges to be included in a Hybrid Court was a recommendation and should not interpreted to mean insistence. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein himself had admitted that there could be variations on how Resolution 30/1 would be implemented, he said. The establishment of an Hybrid Court, Samaraweera observed would involve constitutional changes which will not be feasible in the current context.

He said that the government had requested the UNHRC for two more years to implement its recommendations.

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Opposition Leader, Foreign Minister discuss taking country forward
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Leader of Sri Lanka's Opposition, and the Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake wednesday (June 21) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the conclusion of the one hour discussion, the Opposition Leader told the media that several important matters which would help the country in its march forward were discussed during the meeting.

Rajiv Gandhi's killer seeks mercy killing, petitions Tamil Nadu government
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Robert Pious, convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has petitioned the Tamil Nadu government seeking mercy killing. In a three-page petition, Pious has asked the government to euthanize him instead of letting him spend the rest of his life in prison. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi "In 2014, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa had attempted to get us released but now I understand that the government would want me to spend the rest of my life in prison.

Ranil Drops Mangala From UNHRC Resolution Implementation Monitoring Body
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday submitted a cabinet paper to establish a ministerial central coordination and monitoring mechanism to implement UN Human Rights Council recommendations. Interestingly, the man who has done all the hard work re UNHRC resolution over the last two and a half years, the former Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera has not been appointed to this vital committee.

OMP has no power to hold criminal inquiries or file legal action: PM
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) does not have any power to hold criminal inquiries or file legal action, as its role is limited to finding the truth on missing persons and issuing Certificates of Absence where necessary, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. The Prime Minister was moving the OMP (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) (Amendment) Bill for debate in Parliament yesterday. The OMP Act was passed in August last year amidst chaos in Parliament.

Govt. to renew military cooperation pact with US
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

The government would renew, for ten years, the Acquisition and Cross-Services Agreement (ACSA), signed between the United States and Sri Lanka in 2007, which had expired early this year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

OMP Amendment Bill passed unanimously in House
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

The Office of Missing Persons (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) Amendment Bill was unanimously passed in Parliament today. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, presenting the Bill to the House, said it was being presented in line with an agreement the government had with the opposition to present it in Parliament prior to the establishment of the OMP. “This institution is paramount in order to put an end to the issue pertaining to the disappearance of persons as soon as possible,” he said.

ITAK drops no-faith motion against Wiggy
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Illankai Tamil ArasuKatchchi (ITAK) Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam said the Party has decided not to pursue the No-Confidence Motion against Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran following TNA Leader R. Sampanthan's intervention to bring about an amicable settlement to the dispute. Sivagnanam, who led his 21-member team in the 'No-Confidence' bid told Ceylon Today, "We have settled the issue after R. Sampanthan intervened in the matter and also because the Chief Minister abandoned his earlier demand that two ministers go on compulsory leave and table letters of assurance that they will not interfere in the financial and power abuse probe against them.

PM to head committee on UNHRC recommendations
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

A committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to be appointed to look at implementing the recommendations on Sri Lanka by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Cabinet has approved a proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to appoint a committee of Ministers chaired by him and a committee of Officials to assist the main committee in this regard. The government noted that Sri Lanka has gained two more years to implement the recommendations agreed in 2015, at the session held in March 2017.

Gnanasara Thera arrested, released
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera was arrested by the Police Organized Crimes Prevention Division a short while ago for allegedly obstructing the duty of a police officer in Welikada. The thera was arrested when he arrived at the division to give a statement this afternoon. He was released on bail after being produced in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

Sri Lanka's new FM hails China's Belt and Road Initiative
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Sri Lanka's newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake on Tuesday commended China's Belt and Road Initiative, saying it would be advantageous for the island country. In an interview with the local Daily Mirror, Karunanayake said the Silk Road had been in existence for over 3,000 years and Sri Lanka was definitely going to be a part of this ambitious project. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is aimed at building an infrastructure and trade network that spans across the globe, linking Asia with Europe and Africa, along the ancient Silk Road trading routes.

No need for emergency evacuation of Sri Lankans: Qatar
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

The Qatari Embassy in Colombo has said on Tuesday that there were no plans of an emergency evacuation of 150,000 Sri Lankans in the Gulf state, foreign media reported. The embassy advised Sri Lankans not to be misled by reports on emergency evacuation plans for the 150,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar, which the embassy dubbed as their "second home." "Officials from Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry and the embassy in Doha confirmed that there is no need for such measures as the diplomatic rift left no adverse impacts on the normal life of citizens and the expatriates as well," the Qatari Embassy said.

Harbouring Ganasara Thera: Wijedasa rejects allegations
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapkshe yesterday denied allegations of harbouring Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galabodaatte Gananasara Thera. "I am extremely saddened by the false allegations which have been made by some Muslim extremists that I am harbouring the monk. I have nothing to do with him" the minister said in Parliament yesterday.

NPC cools down - No-faith motion against Wiggy to be withdrawn
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

Opposition and TNA leader R Sampanthan has written to Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran that the no-confidence motion against the latter will be withdrawn. The former has assured the latter that there will be no punitive action against two ministers. In his letter to the Chief Minister dispatched yesterday Samapanthan said that he had informed the Governor of the Northern Province that the no-confidence motion would be with drawn.

HRCSL: Foreign judges will enhance confidence in war crimes probe
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

The government had agreed to the participation of foreign judges in a war crimes probe in accordance with Oct 1, 2015 Resolution moved at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Human Rights Commissioner Ambika Satkunanathan says.

Two French naval ships arrive at Colombo harbour
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

The French naval ships ‘Mistral’ and ‘Courbet’ arrived at the Colombo harbour on a goodwill visit today, the Navy said. The naval vessel ‘Mistral’ has a crew of 431 including 56 officers, while ‘Courbet’ has a naval crew of 157 with 18 officers. The two ships are expected to be docked until June 26 and their crew is scheduled to take part in a range of activities organized by the SL Navy.

Keith Noyhar assault: Six Army personnel granted bail
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

The six Army intelligence personnel, who were in remand custody as suspect in the assault case of journalist Keith Noyhar had been granted bail by the Colombo High Court today. Senior journalist Keith Noyhar, attached to a weekend news paper, was abducted by an armed group on May 22, 2008 and was later found assaulted. The CID arrested the six Army personnel over the incident. The men were suspended from service by the Sri Lanka Army, till the CID investigation was completed.

SL should reject Minister Wijeyadasa’s statement: HRW
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

The Sri Lankan government should immediately reject statements made by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe allegedly threatening to disbar a prominent lawyer for speaking out against attacks on religious minorities, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today. Issuing a statement, the HRW said the incident highlights the government’s failure to fully investigate and prosecute recent attacks on Muslims and Christians in the Buddhist-majority country.

Former intelligence chief appears before FCID again
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

Former national intelligence chief Major General Kapila Hendawitharana appeared before the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) today. Today was the third day that he appeared before the FCID over the past two weeks to be questioned. He is being investigated over alleged financial fraud when he was the national intelligence chief under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Wigneswaran says has backing of EPDP, replies to Sampanthan
[Monday 2017-06-19 20:00]

The Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) has extended support to Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran. Wigneswaran told reporters today he received a telephone call from EPDP leader Douglas Devananda extending the support of his party to him over the crisis which had arisen in the North. The Chief Minister also said that he replied to a letter sent by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan.

USS Lake Erie departs from Colombo harbor after post relief mission in Sri Lanka
[Monday 2017-06-19 20:00]

The guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy, USS 'Lake Erie' which arrived in Sri Lanka on a post relief mission on 11th June, departed from the Colombo harbor today (June, 19) after successful completion of its mission engagements, Sri Lanka Navy said. The ship commanded by Captain D McPherson arrived with 300 US naval personnel on board. During its stay, the ship's crew engaged in a number of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Navy in order to assist communities, battered by the recent adverse weather in several parts of the country.

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