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Filling the Gaps: Giving Shape to Sri Lanka’s Transitional Justice Process

ICES 2016 project on transitional justice is a continuation from the previous transitional justice projects. This focus this year will be on the themes of truth-seeking, prosecutions, reparations, and memory, and the Governments commitments on transitional justice.

The Governments plan for pursuing justice and accountability was first articulated by the Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, during his address to the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 14th September 2015. The Foreign Minister laid out the Governments commitments in securing truth, justice, accountability, and reconciliation. The commitments included the creation of four transitional justice mechanisms: a Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation, and Non-recurrence; an Office of Missing Persons; a Judicial Mechanism with a Special Counsel; and an Office for Reparations. These commitments were further confirmed through the Human Rights Council resolution, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and adopted on 1 October 2015.

The project will involve conducting a series of dialogues, in Colombo and in the regions, in order to discuss the specifics and details relating to the four proposed mechanisms and the themes of truth-seeking, prosecution, reparations, and memory.

Individuals with expertise in transitional justice issues in other post-war and post-conflict societies will be invited to provide comparative experience and strategic input.

The objective of the meetings is to create a discussion around the concepts of truth-seeking, prosecutions, reparations and memory in Sri Lankas transitional justice process, as well as to strengthen stakeholders understanding of the issues, and identify challenges. Experience and lessons will be drawn from other post-war and post-conflict countries that have addressed these issues. Through these meetings ICES hopes to create a robust discussion that will elicit specific recommendations with the potential to inform and shape the transitional justice structures and processes to be initiated by the Sri Lankan Government. The meetings will seek to contribute constructively to the practice and policy on transitional justice, both within civil society and political society.

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