Sri Lankan war inquiry commission opens amid criticism

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A commission set up to examine the last years of Sri Lanka's civil war has held its first sitting amid international claims that it lacks credibility.

Human rights groups say government troops as well as the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels may have committed war crimes before the war ended last year.

But they believe the panel, appointed by the Sri Lankan government, will fail to fully investigate their accusations.

Sri Lankan officials have dismissed calls for an international inquiry.

The UN's secretary-general has appointed a special panel to advise on the need for a separate UN inquiry.

'Government interference'
Earlier, 57 members of the US Congress wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to push for an independent enquiry.

They say the Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation will not be independent enough to properly examine the allegations of war crimes, and has been given too limited a remit....

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