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Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal - Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka

07-10 December 2013

Lunes 27 de enero de 2014, por Javier Giraldo M. , S.J.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is an international opinion tribunal, independent
from any state authority. It examines cases regarding violations of human rights and the
rights of peoples.

Promoted by the Lelio Basso International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of
Peoples, the PPT was founded in June 1979, in Bologna, Italy, by a broad spectrum of legal experts,
writers, and other cultural and community leaders (including five Nobel Prize laureates) from 31 countries.

The PPT is rooted in the historical experiences of the Russell Tribunals on Vietnam (1966-67) and on
the dictatorships in Latin America (1974-1976). The importance and strength of decisions by the PPT
rest on the moral weight of the causes and arguments to which they give credibility, as well as the
integrity and capability to judge of the Tribunal members.
The aim of the Permanent People’s Tribunal is recovering the authority of the Peoples when the States
and the International Bodies failed to protect the right of the Peoples, due to geopolitical reasons or
other motivations.

Complaints heard by the Tribunal are submitted by the victims, or by groups or individuals representing
them. The PPT calls together all parties concerned and offers the defendants the possibility to make
their own arguments heard. The panel of judges is selected for each case by combining members who
belong to a permanent list and individuals who are recognized for their competence and integrity.
From June 1979 to the present date the PPT has held some 40 sessions whose results and judgements
are available at
For this Second Session on Sri Lanka, the Secretariat of the PPT was first approached by representatives
of a broad spectrum of NGOs, as early as December 2012. The specific competence of the PPT was
considered necessary, given the substantial disregard of the matter by international institutions, which
has accompanied the “disappearance” of the massacre of the Tamils from the attention of the
international media.

The documents supporting the request to convene a session of the PPT were sent during the months
previous to the Conference. The notification of the procedures and invitations to participate in the
session of the PPT in Bremen were submitted to the representatives of the Governments of Sri
Lanka, India, the United States of America and the United Kingdom through their embassies in Berlin
and Rome in letters sent on 12 November 2013.

According to the Statutes of the PPT, and as specified in the notification, in the absence of a positive
response to the request for formal representation of their positions, the PPT mandated a Rapporteur
to present the views of the four accused governments. The work of the PPT took place in the facilities
of St. Pauli Gemeinde, Bremen, Germany.
Due to security reasons, the members of the panel of the PPT heard some detailed eye-witness accounts
in camera (in closed sessions).

The PPT certifies that the resources that have covered the organizational and financial needs of the
sessions have been provided mainly by the voluntary work of the members of the NGOs supporting
the initiative.

The written and visual documentation presented and examined by the PPT, aside from the oral hearings
and cross-examinations, is listed in Appendix II and will be made available on the website.

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