Both the Sri Lankan army and Tamil Tiger rebels likely committed human rights violations in the final stages of the conflict ended May 2009, a U.N. report says.
The report by a three-member panel of experts set up by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, released Monday, deals with the final stages of the conflict on the island nation in which the Sri Lankan military emerged victorious, ending the decades-long fight by the rebels for a separate homeland for the Tamil-speaking minority. Thousands of people died in the conflict and hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans became internally displaced persons.
The panel, set up to advise the secretary-general on accountability issues called for genuine investigations into the war crimes allegations, U.N. News reported. The report was submitted this month to Ban and the Sri Lankan government.
In a statement, a spokesman for Ban said the secretary-general was reviewing the report's conclusions and recommendations, "including its disturbing assessment that a number of allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both the (Tiger rebels) and the Government of Sri Lanka are credible, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity."
On the recommendation that Ban set up an international investigation mechanism, the statement said such a step would first require the host country's consent or a decision from member states through an appropriate intergovernmental forum.
The Sri Lankan government has already termed the U.N. report biased and denied targeting civilians.