Sri Lanka to appoint panel to probe civil war

 Sri Lanka`s new government will appoint an independent commission to probe the last stages of the country`s civil war that ended in 2009, a minister said Friday.

IANS| Updated: Jan 23, 2015, 15:15 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s new government will appoint an independent commission to probe the last stages of the country`s civil war that ended in 2009, a minister said Friday.

Cabinet spokesperson and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told Xinhua that the commission will consist of professionals who would launch a full inquiry into the alleged human rights violations during the last months of the country`s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

He said discussions with all political party leaders would also be held regarding the appointment of the commission.

"We will consult other party leaders as well. The commission will comprise of professionals who are capable of conducting the inquiry. We will appoint the commission soon," Senaratne said.

Following the Jan 8 presidential election, newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena`s government pledged to investigate the alleged human rights violations during the final stages of the civil war.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government had been under sustained pressure from the UN and international human rights watchdogs to conduct an international probe into the last stages of the three-decade war.

Rajapaksa`s government had stood firm that it would not allow any international probe, assuring that no human rights violations had taken place.

However, in a run-up to the presidential election, Rajapaksa promised a judicial inquiry into allegations that his troops had killed thousands of Tamil civilians in last phase of the war, as pressure mounted from his opponent.

However, he had reiterated that he would not cooperate with an UN-mandated investigation.