UN chief calls for Sri Lanka war crimes probe

[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 June 2009, 18:37 GMT]
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Friday called for an international inquiry into war crimes in northern Sri Lanka and sought the Colombo government’s agreement, press reports said. At a closed-door briefing for UN Security Council members, Mr. Ban called for a credible inquiry to be undertaken with international backing and full support from Sri Lanka's government, AP reported. He declined to elaborate on exactly how the inquiry should be done, but urged an examination of serious allegations of violations of international humanitarian laws, according to diplomats and UN officials who attended. Ban also told the council that Sri Lanka must refrain from any victory dance after defeating the LTTE.

Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General
Ba Ki Moon, UN Secretary General
"Any inquiry, to be meaningful, should be supported by the members of the United Nations, and also should be very impartial and objective," Mr. Ban told reporters Friday at UN headquarters.

"I would like to ask the Sri Lankan government to recognize the international call for accountability and full transparency," AP quoted him as saying

"And whenever and wherever there are credible allegations of violations of humanitarian law, there should be a proper investigation."

However, Sri Lanka has rejected either an international or joint investigation, saying civil war is a domestic issue.

However, Sri Lanka’s human rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe doubted if the UN chief actually meant to call for an international investigation.

"He is not talking about an international probe at all," Mr. Samarasinghe said.

The UN Security Council met informally Friday rather than in its usual chambers to allow Sri Lanka's UN Ambassador Hewa M.G.S. Palihakkara to attend without requiring a formal agenda item, AP also reported.

Mr. Ban warned the Sri Lankan government against engaging in celebrations, as Colombo reveled in its military defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

"I take this opportunity to warn against the risk of triumphalism, which will really hinder the ongoing efforts by the Sri Lankan government, the people and the international community in helping to heal the wounds," he was quoted by the Times of India as saying. "This is very important at this time to unite and heal the wounds rather than enjoy in celebrations in the wake of the end of the conflict," he said.

Mr. Ban said he had asked the Sri Lankan government to provide relief groups and the United Nations free access to the tens of thousands of Sri Lankans who are in need of assistance.

It is the first time Mr. Ban has called for investigations into the what Human Rights Watch has called the “slaughter” of Tamil civilians by Sri Lankan artillery in northern Sri Lanka.

The United States has protested Colombo’s “indiscriminate” shelling of a narrow sliver of land packed with Tamil civilians.

UN officials told The Times of London and France’s Le Monde that they knew 20,000 civilians had been massacred.

In recent weeks, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has repeatedly said serious violation of international humanitarian law in northern Sri Lanka warranted international investigation.

Last Thursday Pillay, a former war crimes judge for Sierre Leone, said that the UN stands ready to support an inquiry into abuses in Sri Lanka's civil war.

"I believe that accountability is a prerequisite for the attainment of justice and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans and, thus, a foundation for lasting peace," she said.


External Links:
Aljazeera: UN chief urges Sri Lanka inquiry Ban Ki-moon recently visited the warzone to see how civilians were affected by the fighting

 

Latest 15 Reports
08.07.20 16:33   Photo
Sinhala colonists encroach into Kangku-veali, Mean-kamam reservoirs in Trincomalee
07.07.20 19:36   Photo
Colombo schemes to expand ilmenite scooping into North from Pulmoaddai in East
06.07.20 19:06  
Colombo transfers Tamil Political Prisoners to notorious Anuradhapura prison
05.07.20 23:06   Photo
University students, Shivajilingam brave SL harassment to commemorate fallen Black Tigers
04.07.20 22:28   Photo
Monk commanding Sinhala-Buddhicisation of North-East threatens Tamil villagers in Batticaloa
03.07.20 19:28   Photo
After Naavat-kuzhi, Colombo targets Poonakari for Sinhala colonisation across Jaffna lagoon
02.07.20 22:26  
Colombo imposes restrictions on Tamil valour related symbolism in schools of North
01.07.20 13:22  
New secret unit among four SL military and police squads competing to arrest Tamil youth in North
30.06.20 22:10  
Tamils blocked from accessing properties near SL Navy training base in Champoor, Trincomalee
29.06.20 23:29   Photo
Moragoda advising Gotabaya prompts Sinhala parties to scrap Provincial Councils
28.06.20 22:06  
India privileging BRIC/RIC over Quad ‘discordant’, says former US top diplomat
27.06.20 22:11  
Indo-Pacific expert wants US to seek opportunities in ‘Sri Lanka’
26.06.20 21:24  
Russia steps up influence on New Delhi to uphold “multilateralism” against US “rules-based order”
25.06.20 23:53  
Pompeo talks about US reposturing troops, mentions India, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia
24.06.20 23:36   Photo
Devananda circumvents court order, manipulates Jaffna fishers to allow poachers from South
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=29540