Amnesty International on Wednesday said Sri Lanka's
inquiry panel was "flawed at every level" and no substitute
for an international war crimes investigation.
The human rights watchdog issued a 69-page report
slamming the work of the government's Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) ahead of next week's meeting
of the UN Human Rights Council, expected to discuss Sri Lanka.
Tamara Kunanayakam, Sri Lanka's permanent representative
to the United Nations in Geneva said Amnesty has "acted as a
self-appointed judge" when the LLRC's final report is due only
on November 15.
"The pre-judgment of the Commission's (LLRC) outcome is
unacceptable and unwarranted, and is to be considered as
interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state,"
Kunanayakam said in a statement released in Colombo.
The report cited eyewitness testimony and information
from aid workers suggesting that at least 10,000 civilians
were killed in the final military offensive that crushed the
separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009.
It accused the Sri Lankan army of shelling areas it knew
to be densely populated by civilians, and also condemned the
rebels for using non-combatants as a human shield.
The report, entitled "When will they get justice?", said
the LLRC, set up by the Sri Lankan government to review the
final stages of the offensive, was "flawed at every level: in
mandate, composition and practice".
Amnesty said that the LLRC was just the latest in a long
line of failed domestic inquiries.
Kunanayakam said Amnesty demonstrated "bad faith" by
refusing an October 2010 invitation to testify before the
She brushed aside Amnesty's claims that a number of
ex-government officials on the commission, had failed to
investigate evidence of systematic violations, including
illegal killings and enforced disappearances.
"It is evident that the real aim of those questioning the
legitimacy of LLRC is to undermine the principle of state
sovereignty," she said adding that international laws allow
domestic inquiries to be exhausted first.
An April report by a panel commissioned by UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon noted "credible allegations" of war crimes
committed by both sides.
Colombo denied these allegations, maintaining troops did
not kill a single civilian.
Colombo: Sri Lanka said on Saturday that Amnesty
International comments on the island's probe into its military
victory over Tamil rebels, were an "interference" in the
First Published: Saturday, September 10, 2011, 21:40