UN Sets Up Sri Lanka War Crimes Probe

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has set up a panel to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in the final months of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

The Secretary general launched the investigation “to advise him on the issue of accountability with regards to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka.”

Spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement that the three-strong panel would be chaired by Marzuki Darusman from Indonesia, the UN’s special envoy for North Korea, and hoped to complete its work in four months.

Sri Lankan authorities have faced numerous allegations of war crimes during a final military offensive against Tamil rebels in the northeastern part of the island last year that ended the 37-year war.

Ban’s decision follows a visit last week to Sri Lanka by the UN under secretary general for political affairs, Lynn Pascoe, to discuss national reconciliation and allegations of human rights violations.

The United States has also been calling for months for an independent investigation into the war crimes allegations.

But a Sri Lanka official said on Monday in Colombo that his country was “deeply unhappy” with Ban’s decision, announced on Thursday by Pascoe, calling it “unwarranted and uncalled for.”

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