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UN Sri Lanka panel term extended until end of this month

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 13:22

United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon has extended by a fortnight the deadline for his panel of experts to submit their report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, days after Colombo agreed to facilitate the members`
visit to the country.

The `Panel of Experts` was initially supposed to
submit its report by December 15.

"The (period of) the submissions to the panel has been
extended to the end of this year, from the previous deadline
of mid-December," said Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman of the
Secretary General.

"They are on track to put out a report on their
schedule. I don`t have a precise date for when that will
happen," Haq said in response to a question at the daily noon
briefing held at the UN headquarters in New York.

Haq said the Secretary-General has made it clear that
he would review whatever the panel gives him and then decide
at that point about making anything public.

Last week, Ban said that his panel of experts would
now be able to visit Sri Lanka and meet a Sri Lankan
commission looking into the ethnic conflict that ended last

"I sincerely hope that the Panel of Experts will be
able to have good cooperation, to have an accountability
process and make progress as soon as possible. This is a
result of long consultations, and I appreciate the flexibility
of the President (Mahinda) Rajapaksa on this issue," Ban had
Lanka said earlier that it would not allow the panel
to visit the country, calling it an infringement of its

Three international non governmental organisations,
the New York-based Human Rights Watch, London-based Amnesty
International and Brussels-based International Crisis Group
have snubbed an invitation to appear before the Commission on
Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation, last month, accusing it of
a cover-up and lacking credibility.
Both the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lanka`s government have
been accused by human rights groups of committing crimes
against humanity during the last phase of the three-decade-
long conflict that ended in May 2009.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 13:22

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