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Darusman report based on material shut from scrutiny of human eye for 20 years GL

2011 May 04

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris told Parliament yesterday what has been made out to be credible evidence of war crimes in the Darusman report was based on representations that would be shut from the scrutiny of the human eye for a period of 20 years. There was an impenetrable wall of two decades and he had yet to come across any process which had so flagrantly and cynically violated the basic norms of rudimentary justice, the Minister said dismissing the report as prejudiced from beginning to end. He asked how anyone could claim that there were credible allegations of war crimes without conducting an investigation.

The prejudice of the Darusman panel was also evident, Minister Prof. Peiris said, from the way it described the LTTE. It called the outfit 'a most disciplined and nationalist Tamil organisation' thus betraying its bias, he pointed out. It had also said that 'Sri Lanka's war ended tragically, amidst controversy'. He asked whether the panel considered the ending of the war tragic because, in its opinion, the wrong side had won.

Prof. Peiris said when he spoke to UNSG Ban Ki-moon over the telephone, recently the latter had said the Darusman report was only a document submitted by an advisory committee appointed by him and it was not an official UN document.

It was a basic misnomer to call it a UN report. It was a private initiative of the UNSG to appoint a committee to advise him. The UNSG himself had repeatedly emphasized that the committee was only an advisory body. The report or the committee had no formal nexus with the UN or and UN body.

The UNSG had informed him, said the Minister, that the report had no relevance to the UN or any other bodies coming under the UN since Sri Lanka or any other UN member country had not taken it up with the UN. The committee which compiled the report was only an advisory body.

Sri Lanka would provide a detailed response to UNSG Ban Ki-moon regarding the Darusman Report Prof. Peiris said adding that the government's response would also contain details of the on-going development work in the North since the war ended as well as the rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres including child soldiers.

Prof. Peiris said that a report made by an advisory panel to the UNSG had opened old wounds that were healing after the war. "It will only cause mistrust and hatred among the communities," he said.

The Minister reiterated that the government would continue to work with the UN despite the fact the report has been made public.

The Minister said he would be visiting India and China to discuss the Report and seek their assistance.

"The Sri Lankan government does not agree with the report or its content due to several reasons. The contents of the report do the gravest possible damage to the delicate reconciliation process," he said.

The process followed by the committee was flawed. It had done no investigation. Nor had it any power to investigate allegations against a UN member country. The report said it had arrived at conclusions with credible evidence that Sri Lankan security forces had committed war crimes. "How could a committee arrive at such conclusions without proper investigation?" the Minister queried.

The committee had gone beyond its mandate to accuse Sri Lankan troops of committing war crimes, Prof. Peiris said.

The government would commence a campaign to apprise its friendly nations of this situation and the post conflict recovery measures it had taken and their progress, the minister said.

"No other country in the world which experienced a conflict of this magnitude had recovered fast within a short period of time such as two years," Minister Peiris said adding that this reality should be informed to the rest of the world and he would meet Indian government representatives on May 15 and Chinese government representatives on May 17. The forthcoming Non Aligned Movement meeting scheduled to be held in Bali in Indonesia would also be used for that purpose, he said.

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