The UN has questioned the credibility of any probe carried out by a Sri Lankan-government appointed panel into alleged human rights violations in the last phase of the war with the LTTE.
On Monday it was announced that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had decided to appoint an independent committee to look into the report of compiled by the US Department of State alleging that Sri Lanka has violated human rights. The report alleged that at least 170 instances of human rights violations had been committed by both the army as well as the Tamil Tigers.
Speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters, UN Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston said that the Sri Lankan government has an issue with credibility and raised doubts over the outcome of a probe on human rights to be carried out by a panel appointed by the government.
The Daily Mirror website reported that in response to a question on “self-investigations”, he said that military investigations of allegations against their own activities did not enhance credibility.
On one allegation, accompanied by a video, that the Sri Lankan military had conducted summary executions, the Sri Lankan Government had declared the video to be a fabrication based on what it called “expert advice”.
Alston said that two of those experts had been from the military. In addition that Government already had credibility issues due to its abandonment of an inquiry by independent investigators, on prior allegations, when those investigators had resigned, claiming that the investigation was not serious. Mr. Alston was initiating his own analyses of the tape, it was reported.
The US, meanwhile, has welcomed Sri Lanka’s acceleration of the voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their villages. ``We are encouraged by the Government’s announcement that it intends in the next few weeks to facilitate the voluntary return of over 40,000 of the approximately 250,000 IDPs in the camps, and we understand that thousands have already been released. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,’’ the US Embassy said in a statement.