Sri Lanka government ends inquiry into human rights abuses

Sri Lanka government ends inquiry into human rights abuses

[JURIST] A Sri Lanka [JURIST news archive] government official announced Tuesday that an investigation into human rights abuses that allegedly occurred during the 25-year civil war between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive] had ended. A commission of inquiry, established in 2007 to investigate potential abuses, had completed work on fewer than half the cases it was assigned when its mandate expired [AP report] Sunday, and no extension was granted. Commentators are unclear why the government halted the investigation and fear the reorganization of the LTTE. The commission of inquiry has previously been criticized [statement, PDF] by its co-branch, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) for not following international standards, and the government has been cited for lacking political will to conduct investigations. 

The announcement came just days after Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged [press release; JURIST report] the Sri Lankan government to conduct a more serious inquiry into possible human rights abuse cases, including the killing of 17 aid workers. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] recently asked [transcript; JURIST report] Sri Lanka's government to conduct a "proper investigation" of any "credible allegations of violations of humanitarian law" arising from the recent conflict between the government and the LTTE. Last month, the Council of the European Union [official website] called for an independent inquiry [conclusions, PDF; JURIST report] into possible war crimes committed during fighting between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE. In March, the Sri Lankan government denied [JURIST report] allegations by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile; JURIST news archive] that 2,800 civilian deaths caused by recent military action against the LTTE may constitute war crimes.