UN panel will probe Tigers

A UN Experts Panel that will investigate allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka will also be considering the actions of the Tamil Tigers during the final stage of the civil war, Panel Chairman Marzuki Darusman said.

Mr. Darusman has been appointed to lead the investigation and told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program that he will also look into the actions of the rebels during the final months of the civil war.

"This [investigation] would then cover - without any distinction - acts that were committed in the course of that conflict," Mr Darusman said.
Colombo says it's conducting its own investigation into the claims and considers the UN's involvement as "unneccessary interferance".

This week a UN spokesman described the panel as having a mostly consultative role, and that "primary responsibility for investigating rests with the government of Sri Lanka."

But Marzuki Darusman has made it clear that the panel would act independently of the government.

"Any relations or connections with the Sri Lankan government will have to be done through the [UN] Secretary General's office," said Mr Darusman.
He added that the panel is also independent of any nation.

Mr Darusman would not speculate on whether the panel is likely to recommend a war crimes tribunal be established to further investigate the right violations, but said the human rights and legal backgrounds of the panel members indicate the direction the investigation will take.

"We can't foreclose any possibility of going as far as what would be feasible, possible."

The UN panel will convene soon in New York for a briefing and planning session, and is expected to submit their report to Ban Ki-moon in four months. 

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