UN defends decision to defer probe report

UNHRC 2The UN Human Rights Council today defended its move to defer the release of a report into alleged war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war as a “very rational” decision taken in a “relatively unique” case.

The President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Joachim Rucker said that the decision to defer the release of the report on the human rights violations in Sri Lanka to September of this year was “very rational”.

Speaking ahead of the 28th session of the UNHRC, Rucker emphasised that both the stepping down of the Chairperson of the Commission of Enquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, William Schabas, and the Lanka report deferral were “relatively unique cases” and warned against drawing conclusions of a general nature about them.

The report, which was earlier scheduled to be released on March 25 was deferred by six months last week, following request by the country’s newly-elected government for more time to conclude its internal probe.

Sri Lanka has appealed to the UN to delay the report so that the new government can carry out an internal probe.

However, the UN move was denounced by Lanka’s main Tamil party – Tamil National Alliance – who expressed dismay over the deferral, saying “justice delayed is justice denied”.

Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena took power last month after defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa who had vehemently resisted cooperation with the UN mandated probe.

Sri Lanka has been subject to three UNHRC resolutions in 2012, 2013 and 2014 over alleged rights abuses by government troops during the last phase of the three decade-long war with the LTTE in 2009.

In March last year, the 47-member UNHRC adopted a resolution which requested the Office of the High Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period.

The UNHRC is an intergovernmental body within the UN system created by the General Assembly in 2006 to address situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them. (Outlook)

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