Rule of Law tools for post-conflict states


by Sarath Wijesinghe
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to UAE 
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to,the Sri Lanka Guardian)

Political Solution

(August 26, UAE, Sri Lanka Guardian) Political solution for Sri Lanka is on the top of the agenda where the agitation is mainly from the outside world rather than within. Outsiders are of the view that we are torn apart after the winning over terrorism. Honestly we do not feel so. But in reality we are expected to heed to external pressure to be a respected and a respectable member of the world family. Therefore we have taken into consideration the document Rule of War Tools prepared by the United Nations aiming at Post Conflict solutions. Our historical and cultural developments are compatible with

the modern human rights concepts thereby it is easy for us to apply the UN Model for our internal affairs on peace, reconstruction, reconciliation and development.

Rule of Law tool

This article is based on Rule of Law tool, for post-conflict States where national consultations are sought for transitional justice. This document is prepared for a guiding force of post-conflict states to which Mrs. Navaneethan Pillai, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has given exhaustive foreword and an introduction accepting the contents of the document to be applicable to emerging nations. The transitional justice to be effective there must be human rights based constitutional arrangements focusing on the rights and needs of victims and the families. The United Nations have frequently emphasized that comprehensive process of national consultation is a crucial element in this respect. People who are being affected by past oppression of conflict to be able to freely express their views so that the transitional justice programme can take place taking into account in the directions of a viable political solution for the conflict affected society. In formulating transitional justice the experiences of the victims and the families could be taken into consideration. A careful process of consultative process should also be in operation. There should be sense of local ownership and promoting stakeholders participation in the transitional justice process. This is the vehicle proposed for conflict affected nations on rebuilding process in the guidelines of rule of tools document published by the United Nations.

Provincial Councils and 13th Amendment

How does this system fit into the Sri Lankan situation where the entire nation, especially the North and East have gone through ugly period of terror over 30 years and just recovered after the arduous humanitarian operation to liberate the affected civilians from the clutches of the LTTE. Western NGOs and some countries urge a political solution for Sri Lanka based on 13th Amendment to the Constitution which is already a part of the legislation which was indirectly, tacitly and forcibly imposed to the legal system due to unfortunate incidents then, as a result of mismanagement of our own foreign policy. The Provincial Councils - by product of the 13th Amendment is a White Elephant today and a colossal failure. Political solution is required when one ethnic group or group of people are opposed due to their identity or orientation. This is the definition given in the document. The situation in Sri Lanka is completely different and unique. Tamils which consist of a sizeable population in Sri Lanka enjoys equal rights on education, cultural, religious, economy, language and all the other considerations. Tamil, English and Sinhala are national languages under the Constitution and the Tamils are economically powerful in Colombo- the capital of Sri Lanka. On the other hand Muslims in Colombo too are privileged and economically superior. They are the main land owners in Colombo, the capital. These facts are recognized and accepted by the Sinhala majority in the country who maintain the close and warm friendships and relationships with all ethnic groups.


Any political solution ;

1. Should be Home Grown and Home Based

2. Should emerge from masses

3. Should be local, national and compatible with the heart beat

of the people

4. Should be a mixture of Historical, Cultural, Educational and

Legal systems.

5. Should be based on Equality, Human Rights, Rule of Law,

Accountability, Respect to each other and equal Sovereignty of Nations.

6. Should consist of all groups, religions, languages to be given equal and due rights.

7. There should be checks and balances mainly on Religion,

History, International Law and Customary Values and should be a document compatible with UN and International instruments.

Views of law makers, judiciary, common man and the educated professional and youth to be taken into consideration. Should be full and exhaustive and patient consideration be given without time frames and deadlines. Sufficient time also be given for full and exhaustive deliberations.


There was time when youth in the North and East took to arms presumably assisted and encouraged by strong network of LTTE and Front Organizations worldwide. It reached to be the most feared and ruthless terrorist organization in the world. Eradication of terror regime from Sri Lanka have been a difficult task which led to conflicts and arm struggles. Civilians killed and loss of property has been in billions and the extension of disruption cannot be accounted for due to enormity.

Compassionate Justice

Now that the people are united to rise up and the President of Sri Lanka has offered compassionate justice openly it is time to engage in consultation, negotiations and plannings for the future based on the universally accepted UN guidelines.


LLRC established is in the right direction and fulfilling the needs on reconciliation and reconstruction based on compassionate justice. LLRC is well equipped and geared to these processes with a group of independent intellectuals and professionals including judges , academics and learned people. The world is awaiting with hopes for the outcome of the deliberations of the Commission currently going through arduous and vigorous consultations and brain storming sessions. The controversial Darusman Report appointed by the Secretary General has submitted a Report based on emails, text messages, websites mainly on the Tamilnet and the activism and hearsay, but not directs evidence. LLRC is going through direct information and evidence based on technical and IT based information. The Government is pressured on local opposition, local and foreign NGOs and some countries in the West for a political solution. What should be the basis and who should be the parties to the deliberations. Is it political parties alone? Certainly not? It should emerge from the people as stated in the UN document on Rule of Law rules and it is opportune to follow the procedure adopted which is ratified by the Commissioner of Human Rights.

Appointment of Parliamentary Committee

It is based on this principle that His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa , President of Sri Lanka has appointed a high powered Parliamentary Committee for the formulation of the document. In addition to the Parliamentary Committee consisting of law makers the most important process should be the implementation of national consultations. As national consultation is a human right legal requirement and the focus should be given on national consultations about which the forms and models are described in the rule of law tools document. The preparation and the way of consultations and importance of sensitization when to consult, where to consult who should be consulted and additional protections to be considered during consultations reporting consultations and follow up national consultations are pre-requisites for the consultative process of the UN document. Therefore it is necessary for us to go through the consultative process which is now commenced by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa aiming at a long standing and stable peace for Sri Lanka.

National Consultation

National consultation based on UN guidelines could be complemented by the Parliamentary Select Committee proposed by the President Rajapaksa who has expressed his views on his interview to “Hindu” with Mr. N. Ram on 22.07.2011 in fair detail. People talk of 13+ 13- without knowing what the background and the complications and implications of this proposition. What is needed today is equal rights and protection, promotion and propagation of human rights and not the devolution is a archaic and outdated theory which is not geared to and compatible with small Sri Lanka. It may be compatible with vast lands such as India, Brazil, USA , Canada but not Sri Lanka. In this computer age where Mega Companies could be managed with a minute laptop far away. Therefore, it is time for us to be innovative and modern compatible with modern developments and challenges.


Then the question arises why there was no solution to the Post-Conflict issues for so long. On considering the other conflict areas in the world the consultative and implementation process has taken long periods. In Sri Lanka unfortunately when the country was forging ahead for a permanent solution based on human rights and human dignity Channel 4 and the Darusman Report has disturbed the peace process by poisoning the innocent Diaspora and the international community who should be properly guided and educated by our educated intellectuals. US and India too are calling Sri Lanka for a political solution in good faith but not knowing the ground situation in Sri Lanka. The ground situation is that even today the Constitutional framework is in operation and the human rights is in the top of the agenda with a strong constitutional mechanism within Sri Lanka compatible with international standards. What is now required is a system of activating, reconstitution and rebuilding process and get the people involved in the framing of any future documents and the decision making to be based on international and local international equally. We are now in the right direction and the proposed Parliamentary Committee and the Consultative process based on Rule of Law tools of the post conflict states of the UN document will be the guiding force and the vehicle for a long lasting peace and stability for this beautiful Island.

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