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* Sri Lanka opposition party says to empower LLRC to probe war crimes allegations in UN panel report
Sat, Apr 23, 2011, 07:52 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says the government should empower the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to inquire into war crimes allegations mentioned in the report prepared by the Panel of Experts appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella has told a Sinhala daily newspaper that the government needed to take steps to safeguard the country's dignity and good name.

Kiriella has said that the government should have earlier responded to the allegations leveled against the country.

According to the UNP parliamentarian, the government still has time to respond to the allegations and clear the doubts.

The Expert Panel report leaked to a local newspaper found credible allegations, "which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity."

The report alleges that the Sri Lankan government systematically shelled hospitals on the frontlines and shelled on a large scale in three consecutive No Fire Zones set up for the civilians to flee, even after asserting that it would cease the use of heavy weapons.

The report also severely criticizes the Sri Lankan government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to probe the events during the last seven years of war.

"The LLRC is deeply flawed, does not meet International standards for an effective accountability mechanism and, therefore, does not and cannot satisfy the joint commitment of the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General to an accountability process," the Panel has concluded.



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