2ND LEAD (Adds details)

Sri Lanka's war crimes, discussion in UN rights session imminent

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 13 September 2011, 01:49 GMT]
While Colombo appeared to be spending major diplomatic effort to prevent UN expert panel war crimes report on Sri Lanka reaching the 18th session of the UN's Human Rights Council for discussions, reports from Geneva indicate imminent submission of the Report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to the Human Rights Council, "a move that could lead to an international investigation of the conflict," VoA report said Monday.

"Ban Ki-moon is likely to send the report – published in April – to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council in the coming days. Written by a panel of UN-appointed experts, the report cites “credible” evidence of Sri Lankan troops and Tamil rebels committing human rights violations, including possible war crimes, in the final months of the war that ended with a rebel defeat in 2009," VoA report further said.

The Human Rights Council must agree to debate the report before it can give Mr. Ban a mandate to launch such an investigation, according to VoA.

The report had called for an international probe into the violations, and asked that the Human Rights Council be invited to reconsider the conclusions drawn during its May 2009 special session on Sri Lanka, a report by Radio Netherlands (RNW) said of the UN report.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe claimed that at a briefing on 9 September UN human rights chief Navi Pillay "had informed a group of countries that a decision had been taken by the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to transmit the report" to both her offices and the Human Rights Council, RNW reported.

"The failure on the part of the High Commissioner to inform the concerned state - Sri Lanka - was wholly inappropriate to say the least," the RNW quoted the minister as telling the Human Rights Council.

Ms. Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her address at the 18th session of the Human Rights Council Monday said: "...let me note that the countermeasures adopted by States to combat terrorism have frequently been designed with insufficient regard for human rights. This has all too often led to an erosion of rights and fostered a culture of diffidence and discrimination which, in turn, perpetuates cycles of violence and retribution.

"Sri Lanka is one such case. For three decades, not only has that country suffered the brutal effects of terrorist acts, but the response of successive governments over the years has undermined independent institutions, human rights and the rule of law. I note the President’s decision to allow some emergency measures to lapse, but strongly urge the Government to follow up with a comprehensive review of all security-related legislation and detentions," Navi Pillay added.

Speaking at the UN sessions Sri Lanka's Mahinda Samarasinghe called on the international community to halt repetition of “unjustified” allegations. “Unjustified repetition of some blatant propaganda by persons or groups with an agenda inimical to that of the new Sri Lanka we are engaged in creating, we will assail with all the energy at our disposal,” local media in Sri Lanka quoted the Minister as saying, cognizant of the inevitability of the war crime reports reaching the Rights Commissioner for discussions.

Related Articles:
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29.05.11   Ban's leadership questioned on handling Sri Lanka war-crimes..
30.04.11   Boyle: Word "Genocide" missing in UN Panel's war crimes repo..
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15.09.09   US's war crimes report, a canary in coalmine - Rapp

External Links:
Amnesty: UN: Truth and justice needed to resolve Sri Lanka rights crisis
AFP: UN Sri Lanka report sent to human rights council
RNW: Sri Lanka against UN sending probe report to rights body
BBC: UN under pressure to re-examine Sri Lanka 'abuses'
AP: UN rights chief expects Sri Lanka report referral
VoA: Sri Lanka Civil War Report to go to UN Rights Council
Reuters: Sri Lanka under growing pressure on war atrocities
Amnesty: Sri Lanka: Inquiry into armed conflict fundamentally flawed


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