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Last updated: 20 October, 2011 - Published 12:08 GMT
 
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CHOGM must deal with war crimes in Sri Lanka - ICJ
 
John Dowd, the President International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Australia
John Dowd, the President International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Australia
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Australia says the forthcoming meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting cannot be allowed to ignore the serious breaches committed in Sri Lanka.

"Those responsible for war crimes at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 must not be allowed to go unpunished”, said John Dowd AO QC, the President of the International Commission of Jurists, Australia.

Credible allegations

ICJ says that the expert committee established by the United Nations Secretary-General found credible allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

"The Expert Panel called on the Sri Lankan Government to immediately commence genuine investigations into the conduct of military commanders and civilian officials on both sides. This has not happened” said Mr Dowd.

Reverse decision

“The next meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth should reverse the decision that the next Heads of Government Meeting in 2013 be held in Sri Lanka”, said Mr Dowd.

The International Commission of Jurists, Australia has advised the Members of the Commonwealth that it believes that the Commonwealth should suspend Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth.

Sri Lanka must be told that unless it establishes a war crimes tribunal as proposed by the UN Secretary-General’s Expert Panel, and carry out the Panel’s other recommendations, Sri Lanka should be suspended from the Commonwealth, said Mr Dowd.

Obligation

The Commonwealth Heads of Government have an obligation to enforce human rights and to consider suspension as it has done in the past where there have been breaches of the Commonwealth principles of membership, ICJ said.

It says the Commonwealth will lose all credibility if it simply refuses to deal with the events published by the UN Secretary-General’s Expert Panel.

"It means that no one on either side of the civil war who has committed breaches has been tried and Sri Lanka has made it clear that there it has no intention to pursue the offenders. Countries have been suspended for less reprehensible breaches than what is occurring in Sri Lanka”, said Mr Dowd.

“In continuing violation of international human rights law, there are many people still held in Sri Lankan detention camps who have not been identified or accounted for, some two and a half years after the end of the civil war” added Mr Dowd.

 
 
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