United Nation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is going ahead with his proposal for a panel of experts on Sri Lanka despite objections from Colombo that the panel would infringe on the country's sovereignty.
The U.N. News Centre website quoted Mr. Ban as saying the panel was in line with a joint statement he issued with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to the country in May 2009, days after the military defeat of the LTTE. “This joint statement contained a commitment related to ensuring an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” he said.
“The panel I am establishing will advise me on the standards, benchmarks and parameters, based on international experience, that must guide any accountability process such as the one mentioned in the joint statement. Now this panel will report to me directly and not to another body.”
“I am convinced that it is well within my power as Secretary-General of the United Nations to ask such a body to furnish me with their advice of this nature. This does not in any way infringe on the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.”
Ever since the LTTE's defeat, Colombo has been engaged in a war of words with all those who have been demanding a commission to investigate alleged human rights violations during the war and repeatedly pointed to a resolution by the Human Rights Commission lauding Sri Lanka on the issue.
Mr. Rajapaksa personally spoke to Mr. Ban, describing the move as “uncalled for and unwarranted”.
Last week, the U.N. chief voiced concern about the lack of progress on political reconciliation, the treatment of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the setting up of an accountability process since he reached the joint statement with Mr. Rajapaksa.