United Nations Chief Human Rights Officer Michelle Bachelet received a warrant to collect evidence of crimes committed in Sri Lanka long civil war, which ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers separatists and a wave of civilian deaths.
Rights groups say the ruling is a crucial step in securing justice for victims of war crimes and could have significant implications for the current Sri Lankan government.
Here we answer your frequently asked questions:
What does the UN resolution allow?
The resolution enables the UN “to collect, consolidate, analyze and preserve information and evidence, and to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross human rights violations or serious violations of human rights. international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, to advocate for victims and survivors. , and to support legal and other proceedings ”.
He also budgeted $ 2.8 million to hire investigators to work on collecting evidence.
What could this mean for Sri Lanka?
The resolution is a “blow” to the Sri Lankan government, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was the country’s wartime defense chief, said Yasmin Sooka, a human rights lawyer. man involved in the prosecution of several Sri Lankan personalities during wartime, including Rajapaksa.
Bachelet’s office will likely take several months to put together a team and gathering evidence will be a long process, Sooka said.
“I don’t expect the Sri Lankan government to cooperate,” said Rajiv Bhatia, senior member of India’s foreign policy think tank Gateway House.
The time since the end of the war will also complicate the collection of evidence, he added.
What does Sri Lanka say?
Sri Lanka strongly rejected the resolution. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunewardena said the resolution lacked authority as countries that voted in favor were outnumbered by those that voted against or abstained.
“The resolution was brought by countries backed by Western powers who want to dominate the South,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s UN envoy CA Chandraprema called the text “unnecessary and divisive” because it was not adopted unopposed and strongly contested by his allies, including China and Russia. .
Who voted for it?
The 47-member Human Rights Council adopted the resolution, with 22 countries voting in favor, 11 against and 14 abstentions.
For: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Italy, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Ukraine , United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Against: Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
India, Indonesia, Japan and Nepal were among the nations that abstained in the vote.
Abstentions, including from their neighbors India and Nepal and some friendly countries, are a blow to Colombo and could disrupt relations.
“They put on a brave face … (but) there has been a very big push from Colombo to get India to support them,” Bhatia said, adding that this could test an already strained relationship between the countries.