Apr 27, 2011,
NEW DELHI: Reacting to the report by a UNSG-appointed panel of experts, which has accused Colombo of committing war crimes, India said it was willing to engage Sri Lanka on the contents of the report. India is having to walk a tightrope over the issue because of its concerns over the still incomplete rehabilitation of Tamils in the island nation, as also because of strategic compulsions arising out of China’s unflinching support to Colombo.
The report was released on Tuesday. “The government has seen the report of the panel of experts appointed by the UN Secretary General to advise him on accountability-related issues in the context of the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009. The issues raised in the report need to be studied carefully. As a first step, we intend to engage with the government of Sri Lanka on the issues contained in the report,” the foreign ministry said in a guarded response.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had spoken to PM Manmohan Singh earlier after going through the report. Colombo is likely to go on a diplomatic offensive to garner support for itself. In all likelihood, it will look at Russia, China and India to bail itself out of the situation. The UN report has said killing of tens of thousands of people in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil strife could amount to “war crimes”.
The panel of experts also called on the UN Secretary General to immediately set up “an independent international mechanism” to investigate “credible” allegations that both Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers committed serious human rights violations, including some that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the months before the decades old civil war ended in 2009.