By Colombo Telegraph
State Representatives of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts yesterday released the letter that they wrote to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after the screening of “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” at the Massachusetts State House last month. The letter urges an ‘independent international investigation’ in Sri Lanka, for alleged violations of ‘international humanitarian law and human rights’.
Secretary Hillary Clinton
US Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton,
We would like to raise with you the pressing need for accountability for war crimes committed by both sides during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka. We applaud the state Department’s investigation and two reports on this issue.
Unfortunately, impunity continues today for the perpetrators of these violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.
As you may know, U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon appointed a Panel of Experts to advise him on issues of accountability in Sri Lanka. The panel’s report found credible allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by both the Sri Lankan government forces and the opposition Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the war in Sri Lanka. The Panel recommended that the U.N. Secretary General immediately proceed to establish an independent international mechanism to conduct an investigation into the alleged violations.
The Sri Lankan government has pointed to its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as the vehicle for accountability in Sri Lanka. But the LLRC is neither independent or impartial. The U.N. Panel examined the workings of the LLRC and concluded in its report as follows: “In sum, the LLRC is deeply flawed, does not meet international standards for an effective accountability mechanism and, therefore does not and cannot satisfy the joint committment of the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General to an accountability process.”
It is unreasonable to expect the Sri Lankan government to address the need for accountability effectively. An independent international investigation into reported war crimes and other abuses committed by both sides during the war in Sri Lanka is needed.
We respectfully request that the United States government take immediate steps to support the establishment by the United Nations of such an independent international investigation and cooperate with its operation.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you in response to this matter.