Mar 13

2018

GD partner and Ambassador Rapp speak to Sri Lanka at UN Human Rights Council

12 March 2018

GD partner, Richard J Rogers, joined US Ambassador Steven Rapp (former US Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes) as panellists at a side event to the Human Rights Council’s 37th Regular Session. Rogers and Ambassador Rapp spoke to the Sri Lankan Government’s progress on transitional justice.

Ambassador Rapp pointed out that:

“When we look at the events over the last week, the attacks on Muslims [in Sri Lanka] by extremist Buddhist elements […], we certainly see the real dangers of a situation of impunity. The failure to prosecute effectively crimes of mass atrocity leads to a contempt for these norms; a perception by those who take up arms and commit heinous acts against their fellow human beings that they can get away with it. And, conversely, it’s been my observation that in the world where governments courageously prosecute people who are political allies – the armed services and security forces – one can substantially curtail these violations. But if you don’t act, the impunity risks creating further and further violence, which is answered similarly on the others side, into a situation into which no human being is safe. And that’s the last thing we want to see in Sri Lanka.”

According to, Richard J Rogers:

“The Sri Lanka situation clearly shows the risks of impunity, namely, a continuation of mass crimes. The fact that the on-going torture and sexual violence against Tamils is still so systemic and organised, leaves the impression that it’s an integral part of the Sri Lankan Government’s counter-insurgency strategy.”

Rogers heads the Sri Lanka and Monitoring Accountability Panel (‘MAP’), which provides an independent assessment of the transitional justice efforts by the Sri Lankan Government, following the mass crimes committed during the civil war.

On 7 October 2018, the MAP issued its Third Spot Report to coincide with the Human Rights Council’s 37th Regular Session. The Report is available here:

http://war-victims-map.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/MAP-Third-Spot-Report.pdf