Sri Lanka faces UN probe on war crimes in attack anniversary

According to U.N documents, more than 7,000 civilians died in the last five months of the conflict.

Sri Lanka faces UN probe on war crimes in attack anniversary

Sri Lanka showed off its military hardware during a victory parade Friday to celebrate the first anniversary of the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels, amid growing criticism over rights abuses alleged in the last phase of the quarter-centry civil war.

The war that killed more than 80,000 people ended last May, when government forces crushed the rebels who had been fighting for a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils.

The military celebrations came as Sri Lanka faced growing international criticism for not examining alleged rights abuses committed during the last phase of the war. Rights groups have said they have photographic and video evidence and have called for war crime investigations.

According to U.N documents, more than 7,000 civilians died in the last five months of the conflict.

The U.N.'s top political official on Thursday said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's advisory panel on Sri Lanka would be named next week, which notches up the stakes for Sri Lanka, already near losing an EU trade preference over human rights.

Colombo says no war crimes took place and rejects the allegations of civilian deaths as wildly inflated.

The Tamil rebels fought for a separate state, claiming decades of discrimination by the Sinhalese majority. The United Nations says between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed during the war.

Government troops were accused of shelling a small strip of land where hundreds of thousands of people were boxed-in during the war's final stages. The rebels were accused of killing noncombatants trying to leave the area they controlled and firing artillery from civilian-populated regions that led to retaliatory military fire.

The government last month established a commission to look into the final phase of the conflict, but officials have refused calls to establish an international tribunal.

Agencies

Last Mod: 18 Haziran 2010, 14:15
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