Sri Lankan government says UN Expert Panel’s report ‘flawed’

Apr 13, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has rejected the report that was handed over to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday by the Panel of Experts appointed by him to inquire into Sri Lanka accountability issues during the final phase of the war against Tamil Tiger terrorists.

The External Affairs Ministry has said in a statement that it has received a copy of the report and it is ‘flawed’ and ‘biased’.

“The government finds this report fundamentally flawed in many respects,” the Ministry statement said.

“Among other deficiencies, the report is based on patently biased material which is presented without verification,” it has said.

“The Government will, in due course, comment in detail on the contents of the Report,” the statement added.

However, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has told the local media earlier today that the government has not yet received a copy of the report.

Meanwhile human right groups have demanded the UN to make the report public.

“Sri Lankans must be allowed to see the panel’s findings. The report concerns a critical period in their recent history and they deserve to read it in full,” Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director, said in a statement.

The UN’s deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told a press briefing in New York yesterday that the Secretary General had received the report on Sri Lanka and that a copy would be handed over to the Sri Lankan government as well.

He said the Secretary-General will share a copy of the report with the Sri Lankan government as a matter of courtesy before it is being made public.

The UN Chief will study the report carefully and will determine his next steps in the coming days, the spokesman said.

Mr. Ban appointed the Panel of Experts last year to inquire and advise him on the alleged violation of international laws during the final stages of the war.

The three-member panel was set up following the Joint Statement made by Mr. Ban and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the Secretary-General visited Sri Lanka shortly after the end of the conflict in May 2009.

Former Attorney General of Indonesia Marzuki Darusman chaired the Panel while Yasmin Sooka of South Africa and Steven Ratner of the United States served as the other two members.

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