Sri Lanka stands by its dud commission, UN interested in its progress

[TamilNet, Saturday, 19 June 2010, 02:12 GMT]
When United Nation's Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe announced Thursday the imminent appointment of advisory panel to advise Ban Ki Moon on the alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war, Colombo toned down its rhetoric with Media Minister pontificating, "it is best to allow the locally appointed commission to do its work prior to involving international actors or taking further unwarranted actions." Pascoe, while asserting that Sri Lanka's President has assured him that the local "reconciliation panel" will be "credible and accountable," said "[w]e will be interested in its progress."

While Minister of Mass Media Keheliya Rambukwella insisted that Sri Lanka's "Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission" had a mandate to look into all aspects of the conflict and the reasons and root causes of the conflict, and that the terms of reference of this committee are wide enough to address any alleged war crimes charges," UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Philip Alston said the Commission's mandate was deliberately designed to avoid examinining critical war crimes issues and noted that "Sri Lanka has an unparalleled track record of ineffectual commissions of inquiry of this kind."

Alston in an interview with Daily Mirror pointed to an article on the website of the Ministry of Defence which said the purpose of the commission was “to find out the root causes of the terrorist problem."

"There is not a single mention of “human rights," “humanitarian law," “violations," “war crimes," or any comparable term. The mandate accorded by the Government very carefully avoids any of these issues. Instead, the President has indicated that the Commission should look forward, which is generally a way of saying that past violations should be ignored. Consistent with this he has spoken of restorative justice designed to further strengthen national amity, which is another way of making the same point. Even if the mandate were to be changed, the question would then be whether the commission meets international standards for a credible inquiry into alleged human rights violations,” Alston said.

Cautious words of Pascoe, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and US Ambassador to UN, Susan E. Rice, have given some political space to Sri Lanka's "Lessons Learned" commission to soften cries of war-crimes investigation for a few months, but the UN, US officials' words are inherently dangerous, according to a UN spokesperson.

Pointing to Dr Rice's statement: "[T]o be effective in advancing accountability and reconciliation, commission members should be and be perceived as independent, impartial and competent; their mandate should enable them fully to investigate serious allegations of violations and to make public recommendations; commission members and potential witnesses must enjoy adequate and effective protection; the commission must receive adequate resources to carry out its mandate; and the Government should undertake to give serious consideration to its recommendations," the UN official told Inner City Press, "Colombo will never meet the expectations."

While UN was accused of hiding casualty figures on the ground, one of UN's former spokesperson who had access to the ground war details said close to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war.


Chronology:


Related Articles:
12.02.10   Sri Lanka massacred up to 40,000 Tamil civilians – former UN..


External Links:
DM: Alston questions Lanka's stand
AFP: UN ignores Sri Lanka's protest over war crimes panel
DM: Govt. not rattled by UN Committee appointment

 

Latest 15 Reports
17.05.21 19:23   Photo
Ananthi blames war criminal Silva for blocking collective memorial at Mu'l'livaaykkaal
23.03.21 12:41   Photo
No focus on Tamil genocide, geopolitics gets played out in Geneva in favour of QUAD formation
21.03.21 13:34   Photo
Navi Pillay explains ‘human rights’ limitations in Geneva on Tamil genocide
15.03.21 20:36   Photo
Deceived Tamil activists in UK falsely claimed ‘substantial changes’ to Zero draft
09.03.21 21:34   Photo
UK repeatedly wronged Tamils says hunger-striker, demands genocide justice
26.02.21 11:53   Photo
Tamils witness false dilemma in Geneva as geopolitical formations pit against each other
19.02.21 14:02   Photo
UK not prepared to push for ICC option in new UNHRC Resolution
07.02.21 23:16   Photo
Unprecedented P2P uprising paves the way for rights-oriented politics of Tamils and Muslims
22.01.21 08:01   Photo
Gotabaya sets up deceptive COI citing ‘sovereignty’ and ‘non-aligned’ foreign policy
18.01.21 23:44   Photo
Tamil activists resisted three sources of outside influence while drafting demands to UNHRC
16.01.21 11:03  
Tamil national parties demand UN to inquire into crime of genocide and set up IIIM
09.01.21 09:37   Photo
Demolition of Tamil genocide monument, fourth emblematic trauma since 1974: Rev Fr Sakthivel
08.01.21 23:51   Photo
Colombo destroys Mu'l'livaaykkaal memorial monument at Jaffna University
07.01.21 11:22   Photo
With emphasis on genocide, Suresh calls for ICC-referral, IIIM and referendum
07.01.21 00:04   Photo
Boyle prefers IIIM demand over ICC-referral, says specific reference to genocide essential
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=32008