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Alleged war crimes: Sri Lanka wants UN to lift embargo on evidence

[MISC, Wednesday, 4 January 2012 08:30 No Comment]

COLOMBO (THE ISLAND/ANN) — The government expects the UN to lift an unprecedented 20-year embargo on both written and oral material in its hands pertaining to alleged war crimes committed by GoSL troops and the LTTE to help domestic investigations into complaints.

Authoritative sources told The Island that those sceptical of a domestic investigation process as recommended by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) should make available whatever evidence in their possession to facilitate inquiries.

A UN imposed embargo shouldn’t be an obstacle to Sri Lanka’s inquiry, ministerial sources said.

Responding to a query, a senior official said that those wanting to haul up Sri Lanka’s political and military leaders before an international war crimes tribunal should make use of the opportunity and make available information they claim to possess. In fact, such a move could strengthen their case against the GoSL.

The Report of the UNSG’s Panel of Experts (PoE) on Accountability in Sri Lanka declared that written and oral material wouldn’t be accessible for a 20-year period.

The PoE emphasised that nearly all of its records had been categorised as strictly confidential with additional protections regarding future use in some cases.

The PoE comprised Marzuki Darusman, Steven R. Ratner and Yasmin Sooka.

Military sources said that the UN should tell the GoSL whether the embargo on evidence applied in the event Sri Lanka faced charges before an international tribunal. Against the backdrop of the International Crisis Group (ICG) demanding the establishment of an independent international investigation in 2012, it would be pertinent to ask all those wanting to punish Sri Lanka when evidence in the hands of the UN would be made available, sources said.

The PoE is on record as having said that it has received over 4,000 submissions from 2,300 persons.

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