Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Is lustration the answer for Sri Lanka?

Shamara Wettimuny has written this interesting GroundViews essay about whether lustration should be considered in the Sri Lankan context. Excerpt:
Suspects with military links feature in a number of ongoing investigations into crimes and human rights violations committed in Sri Lanka’s post-war period. The Criminal Investigation Department’s report in Lasantha Wickramatunga’s murder investigation detailing military-run ‘death squads’, and the alleged involvement of military intelligence in the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda are examples of this tendency. Meanwhile, recent allegations that 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers sexually abused children in Haiti exemplify the problem of military indiscipline in the country. 
In this context, there is a need for a process to distinguish between perpetrators of crimes, and those within the military who conducted themselves lawfully and professionally during the war and its aftermath. This process is crucial for post-war peace, as the failure to separate criminals from those who abide by the law fosters a culture of impunity, and brings the entire military apparatus to disrepute in the eyes of victims. Prosecution of perpetrators is the most obvious and straightforward means of ensuring accountability. As Sri Lanka grapples with questions of accountability, the viability of lustration will no doubt be considered.

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