Sri Lanka UN war crimes report delayed until September

17th February, 2015 08:51:18 printer

Sri Lanka UN war crimes report delayed until September

Both the army and Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of committing war crimes at the end of the war in 2009.

A long-awaited report into alleged atrocities committed in the final stage of Sri Lanka’s civil war has been delayed until September, the UN says.

Sri Lanka’s new government has welcomed the delay. It had given an undertaking that it would co-operate “on a whole range of human rights issues”.
Sri Lanka’s army defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels after 26 years of civil war in May 2009.
Both sides have been accused of committing war crimes.
The UN Human Rights Council said last year said it would investigate the alleged war crimes but President Mahinda Rajapaksa - who was defeated in elections in January - refused to co-operate with the inquiry.
The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena has asked for more time to prepare for the release of the report, which was due to have been published next month.
The president was in India on Monday for landmark talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Sri Lankan government says that it needs the extra time to set up its own judicial inquiry into rights violations that would follow on from the findings of the UN report.
“This will give space for the domestic investigation process,” a Sri Lankan foreign ministry official said.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein welcomed the delay, saying that it is possible that “important new information” could emerge in relation to the report.
Mr Zeid said that while it was a difficult decision to allow the delay, those responsible for committing abuses would not escape justice.
“I am acutely aware that many victims... might see this is as the first step towards shelving, or diluting, a report they have long feared they would never see,” he said.