UN seeks foreign probe of Sri Lanka war crimes


COLOMBO: The United Nations’ (UN) human rights chief has recommended an international investigation into war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the final stages of its Tamil separatist conflict, a report said on Sunday.

The local Sunday Times newspaper in Sri Lanka said Navi Pillay has asked the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to set up independent probe, saying that Colombo “consistently failed to establish the truth” and ensure accountability for the atrocities, despite repeated calls.

“Establish an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and monitor any domestic accountability process,” the Sunday Times quoted Pillay as saying.

The newspaper quoted from Pillay’s report to next month’s UNHRC sessions in Geneva, an advance copy of which had been given to Colombo for its observations. It accused Sri Lanka of failing to probe rights abuses and continuing to violate democratic freedoms.

There was no immediate comment from the Sri Lankan foreign ministry, but Colombo has repeatedly said that its troops did not commit any war crimes.

However, it has asked for more time to ensure ethnic reconciliation between majority Sinhalese and minority ethnic Tamils.

Pillay’s recommendations noted fresh emerging evidence of what took place during the final stages of the ethnic war that ended in May 2009 with the crushing of the top leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a no-holds-barred offensive.

The UN has previously alleged that up to 40,000 Tamil civilians may have been killed during the final months of fighting and blamed many of the atrocities on government forces, a charge Colombo vehemently denies.



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