UN approves help for Sri Lanka war crimes probe

Human Rights Council urges international judges and lawyers to help ensure judicial process as part of reconciliation.

At least 80,000 people died in the last month of the war, which ended in 2009 [Getty]

The top UN human rights body has approved by consensus a resolution aimed to increase accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

A decades-long civil war left tens of thousands of people dead in the country.

International advocacy groups praised Thursday’s measure by the Human Rights Council in Geneva for calling for international judges and lawyers to help ensure the judicial process in Sri Lanka.

UN blames Sri Lanka government and Tamil Tigers for atrocities

Authorities there have long avoided investigating alleged war crimes by its forces, and victims’ families have been futile in their attempts to seek justice.

The resolution calls on Sri Lanka to allow for punishment of “those most responsible for the full range of crimes” and encourages the government, which has been revamped due to elections this year, “to investigate all alleged attacks by individuals and groups on journalists, human rights defenders, members of religious minority groups, and other members of civil society”.

Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka’s ambassador, said his delegation sees the resolution as an encouragement for his country “to travel the path it has already begun” towards improved human rights.

He said his country was “eager to commence wide-ranging consultations” in that process.

Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009 when government forces defeated Tamil Tiger fighters, who had been fighting to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils.

At least 80,000 people were killed, and possibly many more, including up to 40,000 civilians in the last month of the war, according to UN estimates.

Source: AP