Sri Lanka war probe panel opens
Colombo - A government-appointed panel tasked with investigating the final years of Sri Lanka's civil war opened on Wednesday in Colombo.
The eight-member panel will hear testimony on five separate days in the capital and two days in Vavuniya, near the former war zone, an official statement said.
The probe is expected to focus on why a 2002 truce between the government and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels collapsed and led to more fighting.
The president's office says the panel has also been asked to recommend measures to ensure that Sri Lanka does not return to conflict.
Wednesday's opening was a ceremonial event, with testimony due to start on the second day of the hearings on August 17.
Sri Lanka has rejected a separate United Nations probe into alleged rights abuses during the final stages of the war, which ended with government troops defeating the Tamil Tigers in May 2009.
The UN has said that at least 7 000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed in the last four months of fighting.
Sri Lanka says that no civilians were killed while its forces were vanquishing the rebels, and that it will not allow the UN or any other independent body to probe war crimes allegations.