Use UN Report to Secure Justice in Sri Lanka

New York, April 13 (IANS) The report by a panel of experts to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about laws-of-war violations in Sri Lanka should be used to pave the way for justice, Human Rights Watch has said.

Ban commissioned the report in May 2010 after Colombo failed to investigate violations committed in the final months of its decades-long conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Ban's office said he will make the report public after he shares it with the Sri Lankan government.

"Ban's creation of a panel of experts and his decision to make the report public show 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."

Serious abuses by both government and LTTE forces, which may have amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity, escalated in the last five months of the war during which tens of thousands of civilians were killed and injured.

On May 23, 2009, shortly after the end of the war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa endorsed a statement promising Ban that the government would investigate alleged laws-of-war violations.

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, Human Rights Watch said.

Two ad hoc bodies established by the government after the conflict have failed to lead to any criminal investigations, let alone prosecutions, the group said.

The government opposed Ban's appointment of the panel, calling it an "unwarranted and unnecessary interference with a sovereign nation."


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