March 20, 2011 By

UN Launches Official Investigation into Sri Lankan War Crimes Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on email Share on print More Sharing Services 0

sri-lankav2The United Nations is to launch an official probe into the Sri Lankan war crimes five years after the Sri Lankan army crushed the Tamil militant group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the decade-long battle. The UN Human Rights Council voted 23-12 in favor of launching the probe into the allegations that war crimes were committed by both sides. The decision was welcomed by the Human Rights campaigners.

The resolution undertaken in the United Nations session in Geneva calls for the UN’s senior human rights official to “undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both the parties in Sri Lanka”.

While the US and the UK pushed for the resolution, Pakistan accused those behind the proposal of hypocrisy and double standards. India kept away in the final vote. Union Minister P. Chidambaram later said that India should have supported the UN resolution instead of taking a “neutral stand” by abstaining from the vote. With the national election just around the corner, the Congress-led government has been evaluating the potential consequences of the latest move.

The LTTE were accused of forced recruitment of children and the use of civilians as human shields. The Sri Lankan military was accused of shelling the “no fire zones” set aside for the civilians and shooting the Tamil militants who tried to surrender. Sri Lanka denied the allegations and insisted there had been no civilian casualties.

A three-member panel established by UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon had concluded in 2011 that war crimes were committed in the final stages of the island’s civil war which ended in 2009 with “tens of thousands” of civilians killed and most of the casualties caused by government shelling.

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