Mr S J Njikelana (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:
What (a) is the Government’s position with regard to the United Nations investigating war crimes in Sri Lanka and (b) are its plans in contributing to such UN-driven investigations?
As far as we know there are no such investigations taking place, and thus our government has therefore not been requested to contribute.
What we do know as the government of South Africa is that the United Nations Secretary-General appointed on 22 June 2010 a three-member United Nations Panel of Experts to advise him on accountability issues relating to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the Sri Lankan conflict.
The panel consists of Mr Marzuki Darusman (Indonesian and Chairperson), Ms Yasmin Sooka (South African) and Mr Steven Ratner (United States) and officially commenced its work on 16 September 2010. The deadline date for submissions in this regard was set as 31 December 2010.
As of March this year, we are aware that a Sri Lankan government delegation met with the UN panel in New York. The UN panel was expected to issue its report to the UN Secretary General, but has decided to postpone the issuance of the report by two to three weeks.
Once again may I express that we are not aware of any investigation of war crimes in Sri Lanka. We know and respect the work of the advisory panel as established by the UN and we thus await the panel’s report.