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Sri Lanka report can go before UNSC

2014 Jun 17

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will have the option of referring the report on the investigations on the war in Sri Lanka to the UN Security Council (UNSC) once the final report is submitted in March next year.

Rupert Colville, the spokesman at the Office at the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that initially, the report will be presented to the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Council will then decide what to do next — and has a range of options including referral to higher bodies.

“The Security Council can take up any issues it chooses at any time, providing there is sufficient consensus on the Council itself,” Colville added.

The Investigation Team will be operational for a period of 10 months (mid-June 2014 to mid-April 2015) and the first meeting of the full team, including external experts, will be held in Geneva in July.

“The High Commissioner for Human Rights will present an oral update to the September session of the Human Rights Council, and its final report will be presented to the Council’s March 2015 session. In accordance with usual practice, OHCHR will ensure that the Government of Sri Lanka has the opportunity to provide comments on both the oral and comprehensive report before they are issued,” the OHCHR spokesman said.

He said the investigations team will consist of 12 staff, including investigators, two forensics experts, a gender specialist, a legal analyst and various other staff with specialized skills. The Coordinator is Ms. Sandra Beidas, a senior OHCHR staff member with more than 20 years’ experience in the field and extensive expertise in conducting human rights investigations.

Meanwhile protection for witness and victims expected to give evidence to the investigations commission is a major area of concern to OHCHR.

“In her 5 June letter to the Government, the High Commissioner requested the Government take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of witnesses, victims and other individuals who may come forward to share information, as well as to prevent any reprisals against those who cooperate with the international and national investigation. The team’s procedures and methods of work will be designed to protect witnesses and other sources both during the investigation and after it is over,” Colville said.

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