13 September 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has sent the report of his panel of experts on accountability issues during the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka to the United Nations human rights chief and the President of the Human Rights Council.
The report of the three-member panel, which was released in April, found there were credible reports that both Government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had committed war crimes in the months leading up to May 2009, when Government forces declared victory over the separatists.
“The Sri Lankan Government has been informed of the Secretary-General’s decision to share the report with the Council and the High Commissioner,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement issued last night.
“While the Secretary-General had given time to the Government of Sri Lanka to respond to the report, the Government has declined to do so, and instead has produced its own reports on the situation in the north of Sri Lanka, which are being forwarded along with the panel of experts report,” the statement added.
The panel found credible allegations of serious violations committed by the Government, including killing of civilians through widespread shelling and the denial of humanitarian assistance.
The credible allegations regarding the LTTE concerned numerous serious violations, including using civilians as a human buffer and killing civilians attempting to flee LTTE control.
The panel – chaired by Marzuki Darusman of Indonesia and comprising Yasmin Sooka of South Africa and Steven Ratner of the United States – recommended that the Government respond to the allegations by initiating an effective accountability process beginning with genuine investigations.
It had also recommended a review of the UN’s actions regarding the implementation of its humanitarian and protection mandates during the war in Sri Lanka – particularly in the last stages – and its aftermath.
In response to that recommendation, the Secretary-General has asked Thoraya Obaid, former Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), to conduct the review, which should begin soon, according to the statement.