Sri Lanka: the need for an international inquiry

The ICJ emphasised the need for an international inquiry to monitor and investigate human rights violations in Sri Lanka, during discussion at the UN Human Rights Council.

The ICJ stated that an international investigation mechanism such as a Commission of Inquiry is needed in part because the Sri Lankan justice system today simply cannot be relied upon to function as an independent and impartial institution.

  • The judicial appointment process is subject to political interference.
  • Judges and lawyers are subjected to threats and intimidation.
  • Security of tenure for the judiciary is not protected by an independent, impartial and fair procedure for the removal or discipline of judges.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has repeatedly expressed concern about “the continuing high levels of harassment and intimidation meted out to human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists”. Further incidents against human rights defenders occurred during the Human Rights Council session itself.

The ICJ urged the Council to establish an international independent and impartial investigation mechanism to give a glimmer of hope to victims and families, that their rights under international law to truth, justice and reparation will ultimately be upheld.

A number of delegations have jointly presented a draft resolution that would establish an international investigation with the backing of the Human Rights Council. A vote on the resolution is expected later in the week.

The full statement can be downloaded in PDF: Advocacy-UN-HRC25-SriLanka-OralStatement-26032014-rev

Video of the discussion of the report, including the ICJ oral statement, is available in the UN webcast archive.

See also:

Briefing note on independence of judges and lawyers in Sri Lanka


AdvocacyNon-legal submissions