Govt. gets UN probe report

Saturday, 12 September 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Mangala to view report before speech at UNHRC on Monday
  • UN report likely to be public early next week
  • Foreign Minister to present Govt. blueprint for accountability in Geneva
  • US-sponsored collaborative resolution expected to endorse GoSL plans, subject process to review


By Dharisha Bastians 

in Geneva

The Government of Sri Lanka has received an official copy of the UN probe report on alleged war crimes, scheduled for public release during the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council which kicks off next Monday (14).

Authoritative sources told Daily FT that the GoSL received the report by the end of this week. The report is likely to have reached the Government by Friday (11), Daily FT learns.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will see the contents of the highly-anticipated report before he is scheduled to address the Council on its opening day, 14 September, during the session’s high level segment.

Minister Samaraweera is expected to use the speech to lay out his Government’s plan for reconciliation and a domestic accountability mechanism that he hopes will be endorsed by the Council.

The Government blueprint for accountability will include a permanent office for missing persons, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and trials of major cases through the establishment of a Special Prosecutor’s Office, Daily FT authoritatively learns. The UNHRC has adopted three resolutions in Geneva calling for accountability in Sri Lanka, with the resolution in 2014 finally setting up a UN investigation into whether war crimes were committed during the final stages of the conflict.

The United States is expected to float a resolution at the end of the Council’s September session in collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka, US Assistant Secretary for Central and South Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal said during a visit in Colombo recently.

Spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights in Geneva, Rupert Colville declined to comment on whether the report had been transmitted to the Sri Lankan Government late this week. The Daily FT also reached out to Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mahishini Colonne for confirmation of the Government’s receipt of the report, but there was no comment at the time of going to print. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report is expected to be made public early next week, the sources said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will officially present the report to member states of the Human Rights Council on 30 September. The contents of the reports will by then be in the public domain.GoSL...

The UNHRC adopted a resolution in March 2014, requesting the UN High Commissioner to undertake a “comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka”.

The resolution which was sponsored by the US and co-sponsored by a host of other UN member states called on the OHCHR to obtain assistance from relevant experts and special procedures mandate holders or special rapporteurs to establish the facts of the alleged violations and crimes.

The OISL mirrored the timeframe used by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), set up by the Sri Lankan Government.

“The period of the investigation is that covered by the LLRC, that is, from 21 February 2002 until 15 November 2011, when it presented its report to the President of Sri Lanka. The OISL will also take into consideration any contextual and other relevant information that may fall outside this time-frame which may provide a better understanding of events or which may be pertinent regarding continuing human rights violations,” the OHCHR said in its official terms of reference on the Sri Lanka probe.