Concerning UN Secretary General’s Decision to Appoint a UN Panel of Experts for Sri Lanka
Moscow has taken note of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to appoint a UN panel of experts to investigate
war crimes during the period of the campaign against the Tamil Tigers. As follows from UN sources, this panel is not a
fact finding or investigation mechanism, but is designed solely to advise him on accountability issues relating to
alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
In doing so, the UN Secretary-General as chief administrative officer of the United Nations should apparently have
asked the opinion of the Security Council or the General Assembly on this matter. But this has not happened. What also
makes us cautious is the fact that this decision was taken without regard to the position of a sovereign state and a
member of the UN – Sri Lanka. As is known, they in Sri Lanka have already begun their own investigation process at
national level (the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation with a mandate to review all aspects of the
conflict). As follows from the statement made on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka by the External Affairs Ministry
of that country, and the statement of its Minister of Information, Sri Lanka “regards the appointment of the Sri Lanka
Panel of Experts as unwarranted and unnecessary and contrary to the position of a UN member state.” Lynn Pascoe, the
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who visited Sri Lanka a few days ago, as we understand, was aware of
this position of Colombo.
We believe that the primary responsibility for investigating the events that occurred in the past in Sri Lanka lies
with its Government and that the newly appointed UN panel of experts, which, as follows from UN Secretariat statements,
does not intend to visit Sri Lanka, will not take any steps that would complicate the investigation being conducted by
the authorities of Colombo.
June 24, 2010