For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
New York, 22 June 2010 –
The Secretary-General has appointed a Panel of Experts that will advise him on the issue of accountability with regard to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Its members are:
Mr. Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia) – Chair
Ms. Yasmin Sooka (South Africa)
Mr. Steven Ratner (USA)
The Panel will advise the Secretary-General on the implementation of the commitment on human rights accountability made in the Joint Statement issued by President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka in May 2009. It will look into the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience with regard to accountability processes, taking into account the nature and scope of any alleged violations in Sri Lanka. It will be available as a resource to Sri Lankan authorities should they wish to avail themselves of its expertise in implementing the commitment.
In the conduct of its mandate, the Panel hopes to cooperate with concerned officials in Sri Lanka. It is expected to complete its advisory responsibilities within four months of the commencement of its work.
The Secretary-General remains convinced that accountability is an essential foundation for durable peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Through the Panel the Secretary General expects to enable the United Nations to make a constructive contribution in this regard.