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Fri, 19 December 2014 05:13:35
UN ignores Sri Lanka's protest over war crimes panel
18 Jun, 2010 08:55:09
June 17, 2010 (AFP) - The United Nations will set up a panel to probe war crimes in Sri Lanka despite repeated protests from the island's hawkish government, a top UN envoy announced in Colombo on Thursday.
Lynn Pascoe, the UN under secretary-general for political affairs, said Ban Ki-moon will soon name the panel which will guide him on the issue of alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka last year.

"The secretary general intends to soon establish a panel of experts that will advise him on international standards and comparative experiences with accountability," Pascoe told reporters at the end of his three-day visit.

The UN estimates that at least 7,000 Tamil civilians perished in the final four months of fighting. Security forces wiped out the top Tamil Tiger leadership, ending 37 years of ethnic bloodshed on May 18 last year.

"I don't want to pre-empt and give you details of the panel's members or its broad mandate. They will be announced early next week," Pascoe said.

His remarks came despite objections from Colombo to Ban. Sri Lanka insists that government forces had not killed any civilians while battling Tiger rebels and hence there was no need for a probe.

Pascoe told Colombo that there should be accountability for the allegations of humanitarian and human rights violations. The UN says up to 100,000 people died in 37 years of fighting.

"Responsibility for carrying out a credible process that meets international standards rests first and foremost with the authorities of Sri Lanka," he said adding that the UN will closely follow Colombo's own reconciliation bid.

Sri Lanka has named a "lessons learnt" panel to study issues that led to conflict, but it has no mandate to investigate war crimes.

Pascoe said he was assured in talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and other officials that the island's own reconciliation panel will be "credible" and "accountable".

"We will be interested in its progress," Pascoe said.

Japan's top visiting envoy Yasushi Akashi and US President Barack Obama's two senior advisers are also in Sri Lanka this week to press Colombo to ensure accountability for crimes against humanity.

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READER COMMENT(S)
6. Bhanu Jayathileke Jun 21
China and Russia will never back a UN inquiry and would veto any such move at the security council. Not because they have any special interests to protect Sri Lanka. They obviously don't want any precedent that will pave way to investigate small carnivals they stage in their restive provinces.
5. Sunamoorthi Vinagnanasundarapu Jun 21
Moon your slip (rather nakedness) is showing.
We have no qualm over UN's mandate to investigate war crimes again any country. But that cannot happen based on SG's whims and fancies. He cannot single out Sri Lanka and order a probe.

What about US invasion of Iraq, whichw as an illegal war? What about US (Collin Powel) producing bogus and fabricated intelligence on WMD in Iraq to mislead Security Council and causing untold misery to thousands of Iraqis.

What about US drone attcks on civilians: women, children and unarmed non0combatants in Afghanistan. Army shells may have fallen in covilian areas but they certainly, if any, were unintentional. Drone attaches are not. They are purposefully and deliberately made by handlers in air conditioned rooms in thousands of miles away.

When US drone attacked kill civilians that is collateral damage. When US manufacture evidence and invade a country Moon is silent.

When Sri Lanka fights against terrorism to protect its sovereignty, that is a war crime.

Moon has no moral right to instigate an investigation on Sri Lanka while being silent on US crimes against humanity.

Moon, it's pretty clear who's puppet you are. and whose interests you serve.

4. I Bunkum Jun 20
UN better know we too can get tough.

We should boycott UN, recall our PR immediately. Cancel visa to UN staff. Cut electricity and water UN office in Bullers Road (If possible oxygen too). Or we will set up high wattage music system in front of their office and play Stigmata 24 X 7.

3. Avinda Jun 20
In 2004 Sri Lankans were given a choice to end the LTTE terrorism using the CFA that Mr. RW was bold enough to sign or using military means. However, Sri Lankans (Majority Sinhalese people) decided that war was the only mean. International point of view, what had happened in Sri Lanka is viewed and shall be assessed independent of those similar events taking place elsewhere in the world. If Sri Lankans don’t have a similar view, they need to understand that this is the position of the international community. So the government and people have to meet these basic requirements of the international community, unless the Sri Lankans are willing to experience international isolation.

Currently, the president has been successful in delaying the process using arm twisting tactics i.e. with India and China. However, there in nothing called a free lunch and it is naïve to think that both India and China are genuinely supporting Sri Lankan interests.

The tactics do not appear to be sustainable and it appears that the Government is putting itself deeper into a diplomatic trap or if I need to elaborate an Indian and Chinese interest trap. It seems sensible that the president corporate with the international community and start forming a solid defence against all the accusations, with limited material evidence, the government is in a better position to defence.

Today most Sri Lankans enjoy peace ( the definition of peace is very vague in Sri Lanka, if enjoying peace means free of terror). Consequently, some economic activities that were influenced during the LTTE terror period i.e. Tourism and Agriculture are doing better. However, the initial optimism that the business is going to flourish after the elimination of terror has evaporated and slowly it being soaked in that the war was not the main item to impede close to double digit development.

2. shameer Jun 18
Send back a strong message to UN... bring no confidence motions against the people who attack SL in the UN... kick them off from UN...
1. Penelope Satharasinghe Jun 18
Very good move as justice should and must prevail in every quarter, Sri Lanka government should not shy away from this reality to such investigations if indeed no civillians were killed then they have nothing to fear. Lets be open to constructive criticism and learn from mistakes.