Sri Lanka’s army on Wednesday agreed for the first time to probe war crime charges against its troops and investigate allegations of prisoner executions made in a British TV documentary. Army chief Jagath Jayasuriya appointed a court of inquiry to investigate charges that troops were responsible for killing civilians and prisoners in the final stages of their war against Tamil rebels in 2009, an army statement said. The dramatic U-turn from the security establishment came two days after the United States warned that the Indian Ocean island would face censure at next month’s UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. Lieutenant General Jayasuriya asked a five-member panel of officers to investigate allegations against the force, including that it executed prisoners as claimed in a documentary by Britain’s Channel Four television channel. The probe is a major shift for Sri Lanka’s armed forces, which had insisted that it did not kill a single civilian while crushing the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in a no-holds-barred offensive that ended in May 2009. The army said the inquiry was ordered after the government’s own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), a panel which probed why a 2002 truce collapsed, said civilians had died as a result of military action.