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UN principles violated:

Panel report only for Ban’s info - External Affairs Minister

The government believes that the attempted publication of the panel report on Sri Lanka, which was authorized by the United Nations Secretary General, for the purpose of gathering “insights for his own views,” “is basically wrong and contrary to the principles underpinning the United Nations Charter.”

“The panel has clearly acted in ways beyond its mandate by refusing to confine itself to offering advice to the United Nations Secretary General and assuming for itself, a function which involves adjudication of a kind, suggestive of a quasi-judicial role.

“This was never contemplated as a part of its mandate,” External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris told this newspaper in an exclusive interview.

He expressed his surprise and that of the government on conclusions made in the panel report released April 12.

“It is in need astonishing that the panel thought that it was deemed fit and proper to reach conclusions on a wide range of matters currently being examined by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appointed under the provisions of Sri Lankan Statute law,” Prof Peiris told the Daily News yesterday. Earlier, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government would tread with extreme caution and gradually map out a strategy, both locally and internationally, to counter the allegations in the panel report.

He said the report has ingredients of the LTTE rump and those of the Tamil diaspora.

“The appointment of the LLRC was universally acclaimed,” the External Affairs Minister said.

“Foreign governments expressed confidence in the Commission and conferred their good wishes and felicitations on the Commission’s good work. The Commission had held its sittings in not only Colombo, but in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces and has already submitted a series of interim recommendations of the LLRC,” he said.

This committee is headed by the Attorney General and comprises secretaries to seven ministries which are actively involved in the implementation of the recommendations.

“In these circumstances, it is quite bizarre that the panel should take upon itself to treat the Sri Lankan statutory body as though it did not exist, to dismiss it in the most cavalier fashion imaginable and to formulate its own recommendations while the LLRC is continuing its work, Prof Peiris noted.

“Representatives of western governments have had no difficulty in accepting the position of the Sri Lankan government that they should await the publication of the report of the Sri Lankan Commission and assess it objectively and dispassionately.

Prof Peiris said that when he recently visited a western capital, the representatives of the government in question, clearly articulated this position and that no prejudgment was permissible.

However, the minister said, that the attitude of the panel has been the opposite. There has been absolutely no justification for the insensitivity and arrogance with which the Sri Lankan commission has been ignored, he remarked.

Commenting on the reaction of the panel on Sri Lanka vis-a-vis a probable backdrop of similar situations that could arise in other parts of the world, he said: “What is sought to be done in respect of Sri Lanka, on this occasion will have to be done in future in other situations as well.

Sri Lanka cannot be singled out for discriminatory treatment because this would tantamount to cynical violation of the doctrine of sovereign quality of states which is one of the core values embedded in the United Nations Charter”.

”If this is allowed to happen, it would have distressing implications for the United Nations as well,” he added.

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