U.N. Pursues War Crimes Investigation One Year After End of Sri Lanka's Civil War
Interview with James Ross, legal and policy director with Human Rights Watch, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
More than a quarter-century of civil war between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sinhalese majority government ended in Sri Lanka in May 2009. While human rights advocates had been concerned for years about rights violations and possible war crimes committed by both sides, they were shocked and alarmed when they learned that several thousand Tamil civilians had been killed as the Sri Lankan army launched its final offensive to defeat the rebels.
After his failure to pressure Sri Lanka's government to undertake a serious investigation of these alleged human rights violations, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed a panel of experts to advise him on next steps for determining responsibility for possible war crimes. Many in Sri Lanka view the three-member panel appointed by Ban as a violation of its sovereignty. In early July, opponents organized hunger strikes and protests at the U.N.'s offices in the capital, Colombo.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with James Ross, legal and policy director with Human Rights Watch, who discusses the final days of Sri Lanka's civil war and the current investigation into war crimes.
Contact Human Rights Watch at (212) 290-4700 or visit their website at www.hrw.org
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