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UN war-crimes advisory panel on Sri Lanka meets in New York

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 09:10 No Comment]

The United Nations Panel on Sri Lanka met for the first time in New York Monday at the UN’s North Lawn building, Inner City Press (ICP) reported. The meeting of Panel members Marzuki Darusman, a former Attorney General from Indonesia, Yasmin Sooka, Memver of South Africa’s Truth Commisssion, and Steven Ratner, Law professor at Michigan University, US, officially marked the start of the 4-month period UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has given the Panel to complete the first report. While the Government of Sri Lanka has announced that it will not issue visas to the Panel members to visit Sri Lanka, the UN spokesperson has indicated that visit is not a critical part of the Panel’s initial mission.

The Panel met with the Department of Political Affairs of Lynn Pascoe, and was scheduled to meet with Nicholas Haysom at 2:00 p.m, ICP reported adding that the Panel members were observed, at 3:17 p.m., leaving the UN campus and entering Millennium Hotel.

Colombo’s opposition to the panel, and the resulting nervousness, are based on the presumption that the acitivity of the Panel is likely to lead to a full-blown war-crimes investigations, and the reaction of Colombo has been neither well co-ordinated nor adhere to diplomatic protocols as exemplified by the recent seige against UN compound in Colombo, local media reported quoting diplomatic sources.

A Sri Lanka ochestrated letter-campaign against the Advisory Panel with Non-Aligned Member (NAM) nations was reportedly "stalled by a protest or demarche from Guatemala, which does not agree NAM should block inquiries into human rights violations," ICP said in an earlier report.

ICP speculated that since NAM "requires consensus," and some members of NAM are supportive of the "Responsibility to Protect (R2P)" doctrine Sri Lanka will likely face uphill battle in getting the NAM letter through.

"To try to sweep the invocation of R2P under the rug, Sri Lanka and many NAM nations are ascribing the delay to contradictions with the Organization of the Islamic Conference about the inquiries into the attack on the flotilla to Gaza. But R2P is in NAM’s mix," ICP said.

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