UN urges on global participation in Sri Lankan civil war probe

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reiterated the need for international participation in accountability probes into alleged human rights abuses and war crimes during Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war.

Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Friday said in New York that the Secretary General had reaffirmed the importance of a credible justice process and international participation in the judicial mechanism.

The UN chief’s comments came as Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena last week in an BBC interview ruled out the participation of foreign judges in the inquiry.

A UN Human Rights Council resolution last October had prescribed a mechanism with the participation of international judges, prosecutors and investigators.

Civil society organizations criticised Sirisena as backtracking on the resolution which was also cosponsored by Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka maintains there is no constitutional provision for foreign judges to operate in the island. But the government would be willing to seek foreign expertise in the mechanism to make it credible. Tamil and rights groups claim historically the Sri Lankan investigations have ended up as cover-ups than genuine processes to seek the truth. The government of Sirisena is likely to come under pressure from the Sinhala majority nationalists if international investigators are allowed to try army soldiers. The nationalists view the military as heroes for ending the LTTE’s three-decade separatist campaign in 2009 in an ethnic conflict that killed about 100,000 people