Sri Lanka: NPWJ calls for access to witnesses and sites for UN Panel

24 Jun, 2010 | Press Releases

The United Nations Secretary General BAN Ki-moon has launched on 22 June 2010 the long anticipated expert panel “to advise him on the issue of accountability with regards to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka.” The three-member panel includes Marzuki Darusman from Indonesia, Yasmin Sooka from South Africa and Steven Ratner from the United States. The Sri Lanka Government announced its strong opposition to the appointment of the UN Panel of Experts, stating that it will not grant visas to its members.

“The UNSG has come through with an authoritative and experienced panel” – said Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice- “it is now up to the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure full access to sites, witnesses and any documents, so that the Panel can do it’s job. Continued denial of access to independent human rights monitors to the areas affected by the conflict constitutes a reasonable basis to believe the increasing amount of evidence that has come to the light on the deliberate targeting of civilians by the Sri Lanka armed forces in their final military offensive against Tamil rebels in the north-eastern part of the island”.

No Peace Without Justice calls for, firstly, full and unimpeded access for human rights monitors to all relevant information and areas and, secondly, for proper protection as required for people with whom the panel comes into contact. We furthermore urge the panel to consider the full range of accountability measures that may be available, including criminal prosecutions for those who bear the greatest responsibility for the international criminal law violations that took place. Finally, No Peace Without Justice wants to ensure the experiences of all groups are reflected, in particular vulnerable groups like women and children.

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-2-548 39 12 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-39 15.