Big Changes in Sri Lanka, but Little Hope for Justice?

Justice in Conflict

JiC is thrilled to welcome Kate Cronin-Furman for this guest-post on the potential for justice and accountability in the wake of recent – and significant – political changes in Sri Lanka. Kate is a human rights lawyer and Ph.D. candidate in political science at Columbia University. Her research focuses on international justice and accountability for mass atrocities. She is also the co-author of the blog Wronging Rights.

Ousted: Rajapaska (Photo: Reuters) Ousted: Mahinda Rajapaska (Photo: Reuters)

Sri Lanka’s January 8 presidential election shocked the world. The removal of strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa from office and peaceful transfer of power have triggered an outpouring of optimism about Sri Lanka’s democratic future. But on one key set of issues it’s not clear that regime change heralds progress: post-war reconciliation and accountability for international crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s long civil war.

In power for a decade, Rajapaksa had made every effort to stay there, amending the…

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