A top American official probing war crimes has recorded eyewitness accounts of alleged serious “abuses” and violations of international human rights law by Sri Lankan army during the final stages of its war with Tamil Tigers, according to a statement from the US embassy.
US envoy Stephen J Rapp concluded his week-long visit during which tweets from the US mission carried photos of alleged sites in the north where people were killed allegedly due to Lankan military shelling in 2009 war against the LTTE.
Rapp had listened to eyewitness accounts of rights abuses “including those that occurred at the end of the war”, the statement said. In May 2009, Sri Lankan military had defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels. Colombo has resisted calls to probe claims that over 40,000 ethnic minority Tamils were killed by the military during the final phase of the civil war.
The US encourages Sri Lanka to seek the truth through independent and credible investigations and to carry out prosecutions, the statement said.
The Lankan military has denied US accusations levelled through photographs during Rapp’s visit which came ahead of the March sessions of the UN Human Rights Council. The US has told Lanka that it could introduce a third successive resolution over rights accountability and reconciliation with the Tamil minority at the Council. Two previous resolutions both US moved were supported by India.
Rapp’s visit met with a protest opposite the US embassy. A nationalist group slammed the US for interfering in the country’s internal affairs. A protest was sparked when Rapp told the main Tamil party TNA that the March resolution would push for a international war crimes investigation.