Sri Lankan government’s response to UN report after Foreign Minister returns

Apr 16, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will give a detailed response to the United Nations Expert Panel report on Sri Lanka war after the External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris returns to the country next week from his visit to Bangladesh.

This was said by the Government Spokesperson todya. The spokesman added that the report was under study and the Minister will brief the Colombo-based diplomatic community and the media on Thursday.

The Expert Panel, appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to advise him on the accountability issues during the last stage of the war, handed over its report to the UNSG on April 12 and the UN has provided a copy of the report to the Sri Lankan government.

Upon receiving the report just before the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, the government issuing a brief statement said the report is fundamentally flawed in many respects.

“Among other deficiencies, the report is based on patently biased material which is presented without any verification,” the External Affairs Ministry said adding that it will comment in detail on the contents of the report in due course.

Meanwhile, an International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR)] at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore Professor Rohan Gunaratne has questioned on the legality of the UN Chief to appoint a committee to inquire on Sri Lanka without the official approval from the UN general assembly or from the Security Council.

In an editorial today, the Island newspaper criticized the UN Chief’s choice of panel members who has shown clear bias against the Sri Lankan government according to the newspaper.

The editorial says the Panel’s chairman Marzuki Darusman, who was part of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), the presidential commission appointed to probe alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws in Sri Lanka, is evidently hostile towards Sri Lanka.

Steven R. Ratner, the Island says, is “known for his advocacy of the anti-apartheid convention against Sri Lanka to spearhead a human rights witch hunt against the Sri Lankan military and political leaders.”

The other member of the Panel Yasmin Sooka, a former member of South Africa’s Truth Commission, is toeing the line for the European Union, which has shown clear will against the Sri Lankan government, the Island editorial says.

Sri Lankan political analysts say the UNSG who is seeking another term is under pressure from the western governments and pro-LTTE right groups hostile towards the Rajapaksa administration to take measures against the alleged war crimes.

A leading lawyer in the country, President’s Council Gomin Dayasiri has said that the panel has prepared the report without proper involvement of Sri Lankan representatives of judges.

“The aim of this so-called report is to discredit Sri Lanka’s good image and the good name of the Sri Lankan security forces,” he has told the state-run radio.

“Sri Lankan government has established lasting peace and harmony in the country by eradicating the most brutal terrorists outfit in the world. Under these circumstances it is unfair for the UN Secretary General and his committee to prepare such one sided and unbalanced report on Sri Lankan affairs,” Dayasiri has said.

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