Sri Lankan official accuses int’l panel of conspiracy

Colombo, April 22:

Sri Lanka’s attorney general harshly criticized an international advisory panel today, saying its resignation from a human rights inquiry appeared part of a conspiracy to force the country to accept UN monitors.

The panel announced last month it was quitting in frustration over the government’s refusal to adopt its reform recommendations, and said the commission of inquiry into human rights cases stemming from the civil war with Tamil rebels did not meet international standards. Attorney General CR de Silva hit back today. He said the 11 members of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons attended less than 10 per cent of the commission’s meetings — sending their assistants instead — and did not have enough firsthand knowledge to criticize it.

He accused the group of timing its critical reports on the commission process to coincide with meetings of the UN Human Rights Council. “It’s a strange coincidence. Why was this done? It leaves room for a lot of inferences,” de Silva told reporters.