New York: The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has sent the report of the Expert Panel, appointed by him to investigate Sri Lanka’s accountability in the armed offensive against the Tamil Tiger terrorists, to the UN Human Rights Council.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky has told Associated Press that Sri Lankan government was informed of sending the report to UNHRC and to UN HR Commissioner Navi Pillay in Geneva, but the government declined to respond.
However, the head of the Sri Lankan delegation to Geneva, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said they came to know of the decision to send the report to UNHRC and Pillay through a third party at a luncheon on 9 September in the presence of representatives from 29 member states of the 47-member assembly.
The Minister said the failure on the part of the Commissioner to inform the concerned state was inappropriate and raises serious concerns on the impartiality of the office of the Commissioner.
He urged the Council to discourage the practice saying that any other member state could face the same predicament.
Minister Samarasinghe reminded the HRC that the Expert panel report never had the sanction of any inter-governmental body.
“It was purely an exercise of the prerogative of the Secretary-General to advise himself on issues concerning a Member State. How then, I ask, could such a report be brought to the attention of this Council in this unconventional and improper manner?” the Minister asked.
The Expert Panel report released in April 2011, said there are a number of allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka, some of which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Panel of Experts criticising the Sri Lanka’s government-appointed internal mechanism, Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), as deeply flawed and does not meet international standards, recommended the UN chief to immediately establish an independent international mechanism to investigate the alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan security forces.
However, the Secretary-General has been advised that establishing an international investigation mechanism will require host country consent or a decision from Member States through an appropriate intergovernmental forum such as the Human Rights Council.
The UN Chief said he would welcome a mandate from the Human Rights Council, Security Council or General Assembly to launch an international probe into the allegations.