Gotabhaya opens door for UN investigations of Sri Lanka war crimes - Prof. Boyle

[TamilNet, Friday, 05 February 2010, 04:51 GMT]
Referring to Gotabhaya Rajapakse's interview to the BBC Tuesday where Mr Rajapakse said that he would not allow any war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka, Professor Francis Boyle, an expert in International Law and a professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law said, "Defense Secretary Rajapaksa has now publicly and definitively ruled out any investigation of war crimes by the Government of Sri Lanka. And he is a government official acting within the scope of his official duties so that his statement binds the State of Sri Lanka under international law. Hence the basic requirement of international law mandating "complementarity" has been satisfied.

Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law
Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois
"In other words, a sovereign state must first be given the opportunity to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by its own armed forces. Only if the sovereign state fails or refuses to do so, can international bodies step in to conduct those investigations and prosecutions such as the International Criminal Court," Prof. Boyle said.

"In this case, U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston has called for such an investigation. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has indicated that he would be prepared to consider such an investigation.

"Now that Defense Minister Rajapaksa has rejected such an investigation by the GOSL itself, under international law the onus is now upon U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a war crimes investigation body with respect to Sri Lanka as he has recently done in Africa," Prof. Boyle added.

"The Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom must pressure Ban Ki-moon to do the right thing here for the Tamils on Sri Lanka," Professor Boyle further said of the role of the U.S.and U.K. in applying pressure to the U.N. to begin investigations of war crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lanka Army against Tamil civilians.


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