The most pressing goal of TRG is to achieve transitional justice for Eelam Tamils through universal jurisdiction and lawfare. The TRG interprets lawfare as a powerful tool which uses legal mechanisms and public diplomacy to expose the systemic genocide that Eelam Tamils have been facing at least since the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983, culminating in the 2009 Mullivaikal massacre of over 140,000 people including women and children, and surrendered unarmed militants. The final phase of the war witnessed gross human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Sri Lankan military who now enjoy impunity and protection from the current regime in Sri Lanka. The current President, Gotabaya Rajapakse unilaterally withdrew from the UNHRC resolution Sri Lanka co-sponsored in 2015, thus reversing any meagre progress that has been made with regards to transitional justice.
The Sri Lankan state has repeatedly failed over many decades to implement domestic accountability mechanisms. The judiciary too has further acted to protect the culpability of the Sri Lankan state, rather than upholding justice and the rule of law, and have thus clearly shown their unwillingness to deliver justice and accountability to victims of human rights abuses and serious violations. In such a context, Sri Lanka’s decision to renege on its commitments to its own people and to the international community leaves us with the only option which is to call for an independent international justice mechanism from the UN Human Rights Council.
It is vital that Eelam Tamils who have faced systematic genocide and have been victimized by the nearly three-decade-long-conflict get the justice that is owed to them. Transitional justice includes the crucial element of justice and accountability, guarantees of non-repetition, security sector reformation and constitutional reform, and reparations.
The TRG also calls for vetting in the post-conflict administration. Members of the Sri Lankan military are credibly accused of having committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, sexual and gender-based violence and torture, yet these individuals occupy high-ranking government and diplomatic positions.