Sri Lanka's foreign minister says the government plans to set up a special court by next year to hear allegations of abuses during the country's decades-long civil war.

Mangala Samaraweera made the comments Wednesday after returning from a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva at which the high commissioner for human rights expressed concerns over the government's slow progress in implementing its pledge to investigate allegations of human rights violations and war crimes.

He said the government is also putting together a truth-seeking commission.

Sri Lanka promised the U.N. last year that it would speedily investigate the allegations.

Some 40,000 civilians reportedly died in the final months of fighting between government soldiers and separatist rebels, who were defeated in May 2009.