UN rights council urges Sri Lanka war crimes probe

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] on Thursday urged [press release] the government of Sri Lanka to adequately investigate alleged war crimes that occurred during the country's 26-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive]. Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission [official website] released a report [text, PDF] in December concluding that Sri Lanka's military did not intentionally attack civilians [JURIST report] following the country's civil war, but still recommended possible punishment for misconduct and compensation to those injured in specific situations. The UNHRC voted in favor of a US-backed resolution [text, PDF] urging the country to implement those recommendations and continue "credible and independent" investigations into the alleged abuses. The UNHRC also asked the Sri Lankan government to present a plan for its approach to implementing the recommendations and detail steps they will take to end war crimes in the nation, including unlawful detentions, summary executions and kidnapping.

The Sri Lankan government has faced various allegations of human rights violations and war crimes by civil rights organizations and the UN since the end of its civil war in 2009. In November, the Sri Lankan government was subjected to criticism for its failure to investigate [JURIST report] issues of torture for past human rights violations and to enforce laws against continued torture and ill-treatment by government officials against civilians. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] in September sent a report [JURIST report] to the UNHRC accusing Sri Lankan troops of killing tens of thousands of civilians during clashes with the LTTE. In April, a UN panel of experts on Sri Lanka found credible allegations of war crimes [JURIST report] committed during the country's war with the LTTE, warranting further investigation. In June 2010, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] called for an international inquiry [JURIST report] into the conduct of the Sri Lankan government during its civil war. The LLRC was created by the Sri Lankan government in 2010 to investigate 2009 events in which civilians were killed.

 

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