The United Nations has called for an independent international probe into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka during the final battle with the LTTE, prompting an angry reaction from Colombo which today rejected the demand and slammed it as “unwarranted interference”.
In a UN report published on Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay asked for setting up of an independent probe and said Sri Lanka had “consistently failed to establish the truth”.
In her report Ms. Pillay said, “National mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and achieve justice.”
“The High Commissioner believes this can no longer be explained as a function of time or technical capacity, but that it is fundamentally a question of political will,” the report stated.
“She remains convinced that an independent, international inquiry would play a positive role in eliciting new information and establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed,” it said.
President Mahida Rajapaksa’s government on Tuesday formally rejected Ms. Pillay’s demand for “an independent, international inquiry“.
The international community has found fault with Sri Lanka for dragging its feet on the issue of national reconciliation with the Tamil minority and failure to set up a mechanism to address concerns over human rights abuses during the final phase of the war with the LTTE that ended in 2009.
Sri Lanka’s permanent mission in Geneva, in a statement from the government, slammed Ms. Pillay, saying her report “reflects the preconceived, politicised and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka”.
The government contends that “it has nevertheless continued to make significant progress in its own reconciliation process and has continued to regularly update the Council on such progress”.
The government “reiterates its categorical rejection of the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report, which reflects bias and is tantamount to an unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state”.
Sri Lanka said the report gave scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in the country within the framework of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and its action plan of implementation.
Ms. Pillay’s report is being seen as a preamble to the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN rights body late next month.
Keywords: Sri Lanka war crimes, Sri Lanka ethnic conflict, Eelam War IV, Rajapaksa regime, international probe, Sri Lankan Tamil issue, Sri Lanka human rights abuses, U.N. rights panel, Navi Pillay report