June 10, Colombo: An international judge Dame Silvia Cartwright of New Zealand has been selected as a member of the panel that would be appointed by the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to probe human rights violations committed during Sri Lanka's war.
Dame Cartwright, who was a judge in the Khmer Rouge War Crimes Tribunal, has reportedly been confirmed as one of the two-member panel that would visit Sri Lanka to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alleged human right violations committed by the both sides during the last seven years of the three decade long war.
Reportedly the other member of the team is UN Official Ms. Sandra Beidas, who was expelled by South Sudan for allegedly conducting an unethical probe into human rights violations in that country.
The team will be announced by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today when she addresses the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council for the last time before stepping down as High Commissioner in August this year.
Pillay is expected to present an update on the activities of her office to the UNHRC today.
The panel is expected to officially commence its work in July this year and the budget allocation for the programme has already been approved. The members are expected to apply for visa to visit Sri Lanka after the confirmation of their appointments. The investigators will travel to Sri Lanka - if access is granted - and also North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region to gather evidence.
The members will complete the investigations in a 10-month period.
The Sri Lankan government has however rejected the investigative panel and announced that the OHCHR team will not be given permission to conduct an investigation in the country.
A UN official source has told the Indian Express newspaper that if the UN team is not allowed to enter Sri Lanka, as indicated by the Lankan government, the two member team will collect information from outside the country and present a report, just as the Mazruki Darussman panel of the UN Secretary General did in 2011.
"They have already collected a lot of information. All they need is to update the information," the newspaper said quoting the UN official.