The UN report on Sri Lankan war crimes has accused the UN itself of failing to take action that could have saved civilian lives. The independent report estimates “tens of thousands” of civilians died in the final bloody months of the three-decade conflict., contradicting the UN’s own strongly contested estimate of 7000 civilian deaths from January to May 2009, and the Sri Lankan government’s initial claim that no civilian blood was spilled in its military campaign. The three-member panel, commissioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, found “credible allegations” that the government committed war crimes, including shelling its own no-fire zones and hospitals, as about 330,000 people became trapped on a strip of land between the two forces. It accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of gross human rights violations, including forced conscription of child soldiers and the use of human shields…The UN did not escape criticism. “During the final stages of the war the UN political organs and bodies failed to take action that might have protected civilians,” the panel found.
“Although senior international officials advocated in public and private with the government that it protect civilians and stop the shelling of hospitals in UN or ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) locations, in the panel’s view the public use of casualty figures would have strengthened the call for the protection of civilians while those events in the Vanni were unfolding.” It added: “The conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity.”… It also recommended the UN’s Human Rights Council reconsider its controversial May 2009 resolution commending the Sri Lankan government for ending the war, but which failed to address allegations of misconduct by government forces…The UN at the time was criticised for bowing to government pressure not to make stronger statements on abuses and civilian casualties, in order to stay in the country.
UN called to account on war in Sri Lanka , The Australian, April 20, 2011