UNHRC urged to probe Sri Lanka war crimes

By: admin
Updated: 20 Feb 2013 04:20 AM

Geneva: Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged the UN Human
Rights Council to launch "an independent, international investigation into
war crimes" committed in the final months of the Sri Lankan conflict.

It said that since the Council adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka in March
2012, Colombo "has taken no significant steps to provide justice for
victims of abuse and accountability for those responsible".

On February 11, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
issued a highly critical report on the Sri Lankan government's failure to
provide justice and accountability.

"Over the past year the Sri Lankan government has alternated between
threatening activists who seek justice and making small, cynical gestures
to keep the international community at bay," it said in a letter to
members of the Council.

"The Human Rights Council should dismiss these tactics, end the delays and
authorize an independent, international investigation into the estimated
40,000 civilian deaths at the conflict's end."

It also urged "an independent and credible international investigation
into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian

Human Rights Watch called on Council members to support a resolution that
would establish an international investigation under the high
commissioner's office.

Several independent bodies have reported credible allegations of war
crimes and other serious rights abuses committed by government forces and
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the armed conflict that
ended in 2009.

"However, the government has taken no significant steps to undertake
impartial and credible investigations of these alleged violations," said
Human Rights Watch.

It said the Sri Lankan authorities had not reported any criminal
prosecutions for serious rights abuses committed during the final years of
the conflict.

"Indeed, thus far impunity for these abuses has been total."

"Most disturbingly, an army court of inquiry set up by the government to
look into these allegations issued a report February 15, fully exonerating
the army from any liability for civilian casualties."

On top of the government's failings on justice and accountability, the
human rights situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated since the March 2012
Human Rights Council session, Human Rights Watch said.