Sri Lanka, UN Duel over Wartime Investigations

By Montlake, Simon | The Christian Science Monitor, June 7, 2010 | Go to article overview

Sri Lanka, UN Duel over Wartime Investigations


Montlake, Simon, The Christian Science Monitor


A UN panel is set to monitor how Sri Lanka responds to allegations of violating human rights during the end of its civil war with the Tamil Tigers. But Sri Lanka has resisted this and other outside attempts at accountability.

One year after Sri Lanka's decisive victory over Tamil insurgents, controversy still swirls over the bloody end to the 26- year civil war.

Sri Lankan officials argue that they defeated an outlawed terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which had refused to make peace. They insist that their military strategy was legitimate and had popular support. Political leaders have drawn parallels to America's wartime actions and asked why nobody calls Western powers to account for civilian suffering.

Critics say both parties to the conflict violated international humanitarian laws and terrorized trapped civilians. Human rights groups have called for an international inquiry into the war's final stages, when tens of thousands of civilians may have died during repeated shelling by government forces of designated no-fire zones.

IN PICTURES: World's worst human rights violators

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has waded into the debate by setting up a panel of experts to advise him on Sri Lanka's progress on accountability on human rights issues. The panel's members have not been appointed, but the idea has met strong resistance from Sri Lanka. It fears a repeat of the Goldstone inquiry into the 2008 Gaza conflict - which accused Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes - and being subjected to a tribunal.

Sri Lanka fights back with own report

In an attempt to stall such efforts, Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently named his own commission of inquiry into the conflict between 2002 and 2009. A former chief justice will head the "Lessons Learnt Truth and Reconciliation Commission," which has yet to begin its work. 2002 was the year of a Norwegian-brokered ceasefire and the start of peace talks with the LTTE.

This approach got a diplomatic boost late last month when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave it her public support after meeting Sri Lanka's visiting foreign minister. In a statement, Ms. Clinton said the commission "held promise" and that she expected it would "fully investigate serious allegations of violation." She added that the Sri Lankan panel should be "independent, impartial and competent."

Human rights groups point out that previous inquiries into wartime abuses, including abductions by paramilitaries and related violence, failed to lead to any prosecutions and that their findings were often suppressed by authorities.

"There's no precedent for a productive investigative commission in Sri Lanka and lots of precedents for failed commissions and failed inquiries," says Alan Keenan, an analyst for the International Crisis Group in London and coauthor of a recent report into the final months of the conflict.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sri Lanka, UN Duel over Wartime Investigations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.