UN calls for special court to investigate Sri Lanka wartime atrocities
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UN calls for special court to investigate Sri Lanka wartime atrocities

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.’s top human rights official is urging the creation of a special court including foreign magistrates and investigators to look into atrocities committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

Unveiling a long-awaited report aimed at helping Sri Lanka reconcile, Zeid Raad al-Hussein pointed to “horrific” abuses including torture, executions, sexual abuse by security forces; and suicide attacks, assassinations and recruitment of child soldiers by rebels.

The report comes as the United States prepares to co-sponsor a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva seeking to improve accountability in Sri Lanka.

Despite pledges by the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena to pursue accountability domestically, the criminal justice system was not up to the huge task alone, the report said.

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It called on Colombo to remove from office military and security force personnel and any other officials “where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they were involved in human rights violations” in the 26-year war that ended in 2009.

Rights groups and some governments want an international investigation, but Sri Lanka has resisted.

The quarter-century civil war ended in 2009 when government forces defeated Tamil Tiger rebels. The U.N. estimates that at least 80,000 people were killed.