2ND LEAD (Corrections)
Appoint Prof. Boyle to UN advisory panel, Tamil Groups urge Ban Ki Moon
[TamilNet, Sunday, 28 March 2010, 22:56 GMT]
Key expatriate Tamil organizations, the US-based Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC), and Global Tamil Forum (GTF), in a press release issued Sunday following the announcement by UN Secretary General to appoint an advisory panel on Sri Lanka's war-crime issues, said "[w]e appeal to the Secretary General, that in the interests of fairness to the victims that the Secretary General consults the Tamils also in appointing the advisory panel," adding, "the USTPAC and the Global Tamil Forum strongly recommend Professor Francis A. Boyle to the advisory panel."
Referring to a report by the the Inner City Press that the Secretary General has entrusted that the panel’s terms of reference and its membership to be worked out by his chief of staff Mr. Vijay Nambiar and the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Palitha Kohena, the expatriate Tamil Groups appeared to raise concern that both candidates are favorable to Colombo.
"Currently a professor of law at the University of Illinois, Professor Boyle has been instrumental in developing indictment against Slobodan Milosevic for committing genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As well known scholar in international law and human rights, Professor Boyle is eminently qualified to advise the UN Secretary General on war-crime investigations by parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka," the press release said.
The Tamil expatriate organizations unanimously welcomed UN Secretary General’s initiative, and said the initiative deserves the full support of the international community, and should proceed without delay.
The terms of reference need to be broad enough to ensure full accountability,” said a spokesperson for the USTPAC. The Secretary General’s action follows calls by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillai, and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, urging international investigations based on credible reports of war crimes, the press release noted.
A spokesperson for US-based activist group, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), welcomed the unanimous call of support by global Tamil organizations for Professor Boyle, and said, "however, the appointment of the chief of staff Mr. Nambiar and the Sri Lankan Ambassador Mr Kohona to the serious matter of assembling committee to advise of war crime issues is astonishing and alarming.
"Clearly the panel should consist of independent minded persons who have the requisite international experience, and their selection should be a totally transparent process, and free of any bias. The expert panel should also be empowered to receive and hear testimony from experts as well as witnesses with knowledge of the alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.
"Since the Sri Lanka Government has strongly opposed the appointment of the panel from the beginning, its Ambassador has every reason to render the panel ineffective. Mr. Nambiar, for his part, was the point man for the UN on Sri Lanka when the alleged war crimes occurred, and has been the subject of strong criticism for his role.
"TAG appeals to the international community, especially the US, EU, UK, and other democracies, to press the UN Secretary General ensure that the declared determination to establish full accountability as an essential ingredient for national harmony, and as called for under international human rights and humanitarian laws, will indeed be realized," TAG spokesperson added.
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