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Govt. was notified about UN team: OHCHR

2014 Jun 09

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the Government of Sri Lanka was notified last week regarding the particulars of the investigation team set up to probe alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law during the war in 2002- 2009.

An OHCHR spokesperson told Daily Mirror that a letter was sent last week giving a broad outline of the structure to be put in place for the investigation as well as the role of Sandra Beidas as its Senior Coordinator and team head.

The spokesperson added that they intended to finalise all the mechanisms involved with setting up the team and to have it ‘up and running’ by July.  

The official went on to state that the two external experts who would be working with the OHCHR investigation team on a pro-bono basis had not been decided on yet. However, there have been reports that former Governor-general and Cambodian war crimes tribunal judge Dame Silvia would be one of the two experts heading the team.

It has also been reported that the team would mostly consist of OHCHR staff but would also include three special rapporteurs on extra judicial and arbitrary killing, torture and enforced disappearances -- apart from the two senior experts. If granted access, the investigators are due to travel to Sri Lanka as well as Europe and the Asia Pacific region in order to gather evidence and witness testimony.

However, the GoSL has publicly rejected the investigation, adding that it would not cooperate with the probe. But an OHCHR official said the government had not formally notified them of non-cooperation so far.

The OHCHR led investigation of the alleged human rights and international humanitarian law violations by both sides during the war from 2002 to 2009 was mandated through a US-backed resolution. A total of 23 countries voted in favour of the resolution that was passed at the 25th session of the UNHRC held in Geneva.(Lakna Paranamanna)

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