Sri Lanka

In Brief: Sri Lankan accountability mechanism key, says US

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COLOMBO, 5 May 2011 (IRIN) - The US government has called on the Sri Lankan authorities to address allegations of war crimes through a national mechanism.

"We hope that the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission [ http://www.llrc.lk/ ] will address accountability and will offer recommendations on how to redress wrongs committed by both sides during the conflict," US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake Jr said, referring to the ongoing presidential commission. [ http://srilanka.usembassy.gov/tr-5may11.html ].

Blake visited the island nation from 2 to 5 May to meet government officials and assess projects funded by USAID. It was his first visit since the release of last month's report by the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Panel on Sri Lanka. [ http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf ]

"We have to give the LLRC the benefit of the doubt and wait for its final report," Jehan Perera, the executive director of the National Peace Council [ http://www.peace-srilanka.org/ ], a national advocacy body, said.

Failure by a national body to address these allegations would increase the calls for an international investigation, Blake said, noting: "International mechanisms can become appropriate in cases where states are either unable or unwilling to meet their obligations."

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