Rule of law in armed conflict: Investigating the Sri Lankan civil war: International Crimes Evidence Project

The International Crimes Evidence Project (ICEP), a project of PIAC, was established to conduct objective, independent investigations into serious alleged violations of international law in the Asia-Pacific region.

ICEP has recently undertaken an investigation into alleged war crimes and other breaches of international law committed during the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2008-2009. ICEP aims to contribute to accountability for violations of international law and achieving justice for victims of alleged crimes committed during the civil war.

ICEP’s investigation is independent and impartial. ICEP’s work has been guided by its Committee of Experts, comprising some of the world’s leading experts on international criminal law and war crimes investigations.

A 2013 UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution required the Sri Lankan Government to report back to the HRC on its alleged violations of international law by March 2014. ICEP prepared a report to assist UN HRC member states in their consideration of the final stages of the civil war and post-conflict accountability and justice.

See media release and fact sheets below.

PIAC sent a delegation to Geneva for the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in order to brief key decision makers on its report. PIAC staff met with numerous delegations and presented the ICEP report to Human Rights Council member states. PIAC also co-hosted a side event with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Child Soldiers International, and made an oral statement to the Human Rights Council about the ICEP report and its findings. 

Following the passing of Resolution A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will conduct ‘a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes’ in the war. The investigation will run from April 2014 – March 2015. 

PIAC is currently continuing its investigation into alleged international crimes committed in the final stage of the conflict. PIAC will provide a submission to the UN investigation based on the evidentiary material it collects.

Accessing the ICEP report

The report, Island of Impunity? Investigation into international crimes in the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War, was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 12 February 2014 (see Hansard). The report itself can be downloaded here and an executive summary of the report is available below.

Spanish and French translations of the report’s findings, as well as background information on PIAC and ICEP, are available below.

A motion calling for Australian support of the resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council was debated in the House of Representatives on 24 March. See Hansard.

The issue was also raised in the Senate by Senator Lisa Singh on Tuesday 25 March. Senator Singh’s speech is available here.

For further information about ICEP and additional fact sheets, please email: 

Media contact: Gemma Pearce on 0478 739 280 or

Photo: Flickr/Steve Weaver