A recent tweet by Erik Solheim, former Norwegian special envoy to Sri Lanka, has given an insight into the inquiry report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September. Mr. Solheim, a former Minister for International Co-operation and now head of the Paris-based Development Co-operation Secretariat of the Organisation of Economic and Development (OECD), said in a tweet that the report will contain “surprises.” He added, “the High Commissioner (for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein) assured me that the UN Sri Lanka report will be made public as announced in September.”
Ahead of this report, President Maithripala Sirisena told the media a week ago, that a domestic inquiry would be launched this month. The Government is now examining whether such a mechanism should consist of only eminent local judges or include those from abroad. A Government source said the domestic inquiry would be focused on specific areas and hence would not be time consuming.
The appointment of the UNHRC’s panel followed a US-backed resolution, which was pushed through a UN Human Rights Council meeting in March requesting an international inquiry. The three-member UN probe team on Sri Lanka consists of Martti Ahtisaari, former Finland president of the UN’s Kosovo special envoy, who was involved in the process that led to the creation of a US-backed state in Kosovo; Silvia Cartwright, a former New Zealand governor-general and high court judge, who was a member of the Cambodia Tribunal on Khmer Rouge war crimes; and Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur and a former president of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission.