Ban meets panel of experts on human rights issues in Sri Lankan

17 September 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has held his first meeting with the panel of experts set up to advise him on accountability issues relating to alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages last year of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Mr. Ban met the three panellists – Indonesia’s Marzuki Darusman, South Africa’s Yasmin Sooka and Steven Ratner of the United States – yesterday at United Nations Headquarters in New York.“The meeting marks the formal commencement of the panel’s four-month mandate,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson said in a statement issued last night.“The Secretary-General is pleased that the panel is fully under way and looks forward to receiving his advice,” the statement added. “The Secretary-General is committed through his focus on this issue to contribute to lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”The experts are tasked with examining “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.”Government forces declared victory over the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last year after a conflict that had raged on and off for nearly three decades and killed thousands of people. The conflict ended with large numbers of Sri Lankans living as internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially in the north of the island country.The panel was set up following the Joint Statement made by Mr. Ban and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the UN chief visited the South Asian nation shortly after the end of the conflict.