UN Secretariat warned us of report leak: Lankan envoy

Report accuses Lanka of committing war crimes during offensive against LTTE.

Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 12:27 PM IST

New York: The Sri Lankan government was warned by UN about the possibility of leakage of its report, which accuses Lanka of committing war crimes during the final offensive against LTTE, a top official has said.

"The UN Secretariat told the government that it was concerned that the report might be leaked because everything leaks from the Secretariat," Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka`s envoy to the UN, said.

The UN, however, refuted the claim.

"We have no reason to believe that the leak came from the secretariat," UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Excerpts of the report, produced by an independent panel, were leaked to Sri Lanka`s `Island` newspaper after a copy of it was given to the Sri Lankan government.

The UN has not officially released the report but it is expected to do so this week. The newspaper continues to publish excerpts from the report on the final stages of the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers, which ended in May 2009.

"The panel found credible allegations, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," the leaked report said.

The Sri Lankan government has rejected the report as "fundamentally flawed" and "based on patently biased material, which is presented without any verification”.

Kohona said the Sri Lankan government is "studying the report to highlight its flaws”.

"We can`t simply call it flawed and stop. We have to show the world why it is flawed," he said.

Kohona said he was not concerned that the UN Political Affairs chief, Lynn Pascoe, had briefed the Security Council on the report. The envoy insisted that there was "no mechanism" to bring the matter to the Security Council.

"We have friends," he said.

Yesterday, Haq told journalists that along with the release of report, the UN will also announce what Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans to do next.

"Yes, I hope to be able to inform you about where we stand in terms of next steps," he said.

Responding to the why Sri Lanka`s own `Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission` (LLRC) had not produced results yet, Kohona said that examining 27 years of conflict takes times. "It has to issue a report by May," he said.

The panel said that LLRC formed by the government had not "conducted genuine truth-seeking about what happened in the final stages of the armed conflict".

PTI