Indian on SL probe panel

12 August 2014 04:39 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Sri Lankan government has invited an Indian activist to a panel advising its Presidential Commission on missing persons, it is reliably learnt.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to expand the panel of international experts, according to Presidential spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake. “Some names are being considered, but they have not been finalised,” he told The Hindu on Monday.

According to reliable sources, the Sri Lankan government has roped in Avdhash Kaushal of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), a Dehradun-based NGO. Confirming that he received a call from President Rajapaksa’s office in this connection, he told The Hindu over telephone: “The President himself spoke to me, inviting me to be on this panel. I asked for the terms and I was too happy to be part of it.” President Rajapaksa, according to him, visited the organisation in Dehradun on his invitation. “Over 20 Sri Lankans pursued a course in Human Rights offered by us.”

In July, President Mahinda Rajapaksa expanded the mandate of the Commission — originally set up to look into complaints of enforced disappearances — directing it to probe the roles of Sri Lankan army and the rebel Tigers during the civil war. The move surprised many, for it seemed like a shift from the Sri Lankan government’s earlier claim that its army was engaged in a completely “humanitarian operation”. British lawyers Desmond de Silva and Geoffrey Nice and U.S. law professor David Crane were roped in to be part of the advisory panel. More recently, local media reported the President’s decision to expand the panel.

The inclusion of an Indian activist was possibly based on a private interaction and did not reflect the Indian government’s position, according to sources in the Indian High Commission here. “We have nothing to do with this,” a senior official remarked.

The developments come in the wake of a U.N. probe into Sri Lanka’s rights record, following a resolution at the Human Rights Council in March. The Sri Lankan government, which declared that it would not cooperate in the process, initiated its own mechanism to probe allegations of war crimes.

U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has said the U.N. could conduct an effective investigation into reports of war crimes in Sri Lanka without visiting the country, a Reuters report said on Monday. Citing Syria and North Korea as examples where, despite no access, investigations were carried out, Ms. Pillay said: “There is a wealth of information outside of Sri Lanka which can be tapped into.” (The Hindu)
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  Comments - 9

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  • Real Peace Tuesday, 12 August 2014 05:54 AM

    Too late and too little to stop UNHCR international investigation!

    Calistus Jayatilleke Tuesday, 12 August 2014 06:01 AM

    Well this shows the desperation of the government.

    BuffaloaCitizen Tuesday, 12 August 2014 09:39 AM

    This is called getting desperate by the day. I want be surprised coming January, the Pope will also be another possible candidate.

    Regi Tuesday, 12 August 2014 09:50 AM

    It seems all panelists selected are too happy too happy to join after hearing the terms.

    Fernando Tuesday, 12 August 2014 09:55 AM

    Mr wimal Weerawansa Your opinion please. Indian intervention and power greediness.

    kumar Tuesday, 12 August 2014 06:38 AM

    He might think that it is a smart move but can't fool the world for long time.

    Liam Nelson Tuesday, 12 August 2014 05:07 AM

    Looks like a paid probe panel in favor of the SL Gov

    muji Tuesday, 12 August 2014 09:01 AM

    Why cannot appoint JAYALALITHA

    Jagath Leanage Tuesday, 12 August 2014 05:40 AM

    President should have ask a nominee from U.N. as well apart from Indian national.


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