UN panel recommends Ind. Int’l mechanism to monitor SL judicial process
* Govt says panelists have repeated unsubstantiated allegationsApril 15, 2011, 12:00 pm
A three-member panel, appointed by UNSG Ban ki-Moon, to investigate alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka’s successful war against the LTTE, has recommended the immediate setting up of an ‘independent international mechanism’ to monitor and assess investigations undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka following the release of the report.
Although the panel, led by Marzuki Darusman, had finalized the 196-page report by March 31, 2011, it was handed over to Sri Lanka’s No 2 at the UN Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva on the eve of Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
The UNSG appointed the panel on June 22, 2010, 11 months after the collapse of the LTTE on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon.
Dismissing the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee) process, the panel demanded that Sri Lanka should launch genuine investigations into war crime charges and other alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both sides.
The panel also alleged the LTTE had held the Vanni population hostage and executed those trying to escape beginning February 2009.
An authoritative government spokesman told The Island that the UN panel had merely repeated unsubstantiated allegations made by the LTTE and its hired agents during the war and its aftermath. Could anything be as ridiculous as their assertion that the Sri Lankan military systematically targeted hospitals in the Vanni and executed some of those captured LTTE cadres at conclusion of the war. "Of over 11,500 LTTE combatants taken on the Vanni front, over 60 per cent were released after rehabilitation. Others are being rehabilitated and only a few hundred will ultimately face charges," he said.
The government spokesman also dismissed the allegation that the civilians were deprived of humanitarian assistance. He said that the panel had conveniently forgotten that in spite of heavy fighting the government with the help of UN agencies moved large stocks of essential items and medicine to areas under LTTE control. (See page 5 for executive summary of the UN panel)