Pressure mounts on UNSG to make Sri Lanka war-crimes report public

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 April 2011, 00:05 GMT]
After the report on laws-of-war violations in Sri Lanka was submitted to the United Nation's Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, by a UN appointed 3-member panel of experts, prominent Rights organizations called on the UNSG to make the report public. While Ban's office said the UNSG will do so after Colombo has a chance to look at the report, the office did not set a time frame. Amnesty International said, "report on accountability for war crimes committed in the Sri Lankan armed conflict must be made public," and Human Rights Watch (HRW) added that "UNSG should use the findings to press for justice."

"Sri Lankans must be allowed to see the panel’s findings. The report concerns a critical period in their recent history and they deserve to read it in full," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director. "Ban Ki-moon said that 'accountability is an essential foundation for durable peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.' He must stick to his word - accounting for violations committed in the recent conflict is the first step to future reconciliation."

"Secretary-General Ban's creation of a panel of experts and his decision to make the report public show that the UN has not forgotten Sri Lanka's war victims," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "In the face of two years of stonewalling by the government, the public release of this report will help move justice forward in Sri Lanka," Adams added.

Almost two years later, however, the government has taken no steps to hold anyone on either side of the conflict accountable for serious violations of international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Two ad hoc bodies established by the government after the conflict have failed to lead to any criminal investigations, let alone prosecutions, Human Rights Watch said.

UNSG set up the panel on 22nd June 2010, naming Marzuki Darusman from Indonesia, the UN's special envoy for North Korea, as chairman and the other two memebers as human rights expert Yasmin Sooka from South Africa and Steven Ratner, an expert in international law of war from the United States.

The panel was tasked with examining “the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience with regard to accountability processes,” taking into account the nature and scope of any alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka.


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External Links:
ICP: At UN, As Ban Gets Sri Lanka Report, Nambiar Conflict Called "Specious"
HRW: Sri Lanka: UN Experts Submit Report
UN: Sri Lanka: UN chief receives report of panel of experts on human rights issues
AI: United Nations Report on Sri Lanka Conflict Must be Made Public, Says AI

 

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