UN calls for Sri Lanka war crimes court
Radio New Zealand International
September 16, 2015 6:10 pm
The United Nations has called for a special court to try war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan army’s long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.
In a long-delayed report, the UN Human Rights Council accused both sides of atrocities, especially during the final stages of the war in 2009.
The new court would have foreign judges and investigators, the report said. Sri Lanka has resisted such moves.
One UN estimate is that 40,000 Tamils died in the final army offensive.
Earlier this week Sri Lanka’s new government unveiled plans to set up a truth and reconciliation commission to examine war crimes allegations, including those against the military.
The previous government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had resisted international pressure to investigate the issue.
While government forces were accused of indiscriminate shelling leading to massive casualties, the Tamil Tiger rebels were alleged to have used civilians as human shields.
As well as the thousands of Tamils who died, many others are still missing.
Despite promises to pursue accountability, Sri Lanka’s new government, elected last month, would be reluctant to hold war crimes trials, correspondents say.
The UN Human Rights Council postponed the planned publication of its report in March, after Rajapaksa lost the presidential election to party rival Maithripala Sirisena in January.