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Report of the Secretary General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka

via UN News Centre

The United Nations has today made public the advisory report of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on accountability with respect to the final stages of the decades-long armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which was submitted to him on 12 April 2011. The decision to release the report was made as a matter of transparency and in the broader public interest.

The report was shared in its entirety with the Government of Sri Lanka on 12 April. The Secretary-General has indicated his willingness to publicize the Government's response alongside the report. This invitation was extended to the Sri Lanka Government throughout the week, including again on Saturday by the Secretary-General to the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka. The Government has not responded to this offer which nonetheless still stands.

The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation to the advisory Panel of Experts who have provided their advice on how the undertaking on accountability in the joint communiqué that he had made with the President at the conclusion of Sri Lanka's war can be fulfilled.

The Secretary-General is carefully reviewing the report's conclusions and recommendations with regard to events that took place during the final stages of the conflict, including its assessment that there are a number of allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka, some of which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Panel's first recommendation is that the Government of Sri Lanka should respond to the serious allegations by initiating an effective accountability process beginning with genuine investigations. The Secretary-General has consistently held the view that Sri Lanka should, first and foremost, assume responsibility for ensuring accountability for the alleged violations. This and a number of other short and medium-term recommendations that the Panel proposed in regard to steps that could be undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka, have now been shared with the Government. He encourages the Sri Lankan authorities to respond constructively.

The Secretary-General has decided that he will respond positively to the Panel's recommendation for a review of the United Nations' actions regarding the implementation of its humanitarian and protection mandates during the war in Sri Lanka – particularly in the last stages. The exact modality of such a review will be determined after consultations with relevant agencies, funds and programmes.

In regard to the recommendation that he establish an international investigation mechanism, the Secretary-General is advised that this will require host country consent or a decision from Member States through an appropriate intergovernmental forum. The monitoring and repository functions it was suggested this mechanism undertake will continue to be performed by the United Nations Secretariat.

The Secretary-General trusts that the Government of Sri Lanka will continue to respect the work of the UN and its agencies as well as its obligations to the safety of UN staff in Colombo. He regrets the inflammatory tone of some of the recent public statements emanating from Sri Lanka.

The Secretary-General sincerely hopes that this advisory report will make a contribution to full accountability and justice so that the Sri Lankan Government and people will be able to proceed towards national reconciliation and peace.

Full Report:

Also on

[ Click here to read full 216 pg report and exhibits ~ on ]


Ban's decision to say that he doesn't have the power to order an investigation, unless the UNSC, UNGA, or the UNHRC decides to take action, is to be expected. He is not someone who has shown any proactive leadership. It will be a travesty to give him a second term. Kofi Annan would have shown much better leadership to prevent the deaths in the first place.

Regardless, Tamils need to make good use of the publication of this report. The report buttresses the case against the Rajapaksas and military commanders in individual cases filed in Europe and North America. The report has generated news in every major country, deeply entrenching the notion that the SL regime is a war criminal regime.  At a minimum, it will keep the issue alive for a long time to come. Human Rights groups can repeatedly refer to the report and make it impossible for anyone to sanitize shaking hands with Sri Lankan war criminals. It will make it easier for the fair-minded people in India to pressure their government to come clean on India’s involvement in the war, and make them distance themselves from the current regime in SL. It will be harder for India to maintain silence on the issue in the face of a media onslaught. All-in all, the publication of the report is a good thing for those seeking justice, and no one should feel let down by Ban’s decision not to pursue an international investigation. There is even some chance that under heavy pressure,  the issue may come up again at the UNHRC and UNSC at some point, which can lead to a renewed push for international investigation.

Posted by: Expatriate | April 25, 2011 09:18 PM

My sincere big thank you is to the UN and its members. There were many people living in Sri Lanka without any hope in the justice system of this world, but your courage and the content of this report clearly shows to them that there are great people in the world to provide the justice and hope. My real appreciation goes again to SG, members of the panel, and the UN members. Thank you.

Posted by: Mayu | April 25, 2011 09:21 PM

Now we can see with our own eyes what this Humanitarian Operation was all about.

Posted by: SriLankan | April 25, 2011 09:47 PM

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