Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

Sri Lankan Parliament to decide on probe by UN rights panel

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Press Trust of India | Colombo | Posted: June 11, 2014 3:09 pm

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that the Parliament will decide whether to allow a UN panel in the country to probe alleged human rights abuses during the final phase of the conflict with the LTTE.

“Parliament is the forum for people’s representatives. They will decide if the inquiry panel should be allowed into the country,” he said while addressing a public gathering in the north central town of Medirigiriya on Tuesday.

Rajapaksa said his government had been penalised by the international community for ending terrorism. “We have to go and file answers in Geneva every six months for the sin of liberating the country,” he said.

“Now they have appointed an individual to conduct an inquiry against the country. I was informed by a letter that they have appointed an individual. They sought permission to travel here. They will want to dig here dig there to raise war crimes charges against us,” he said.

His comments came as the UN rights chief Navy Pillay on Tuesday outlined her operationalising of the comprehensive investigation on Sri Lanka.

Lanka has repeatedly declined to cooperate with the investigation saying it was intrusive of its sovereignty. Lanka’s opposition was also stated by its UN Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha in Geneva yesterday at the opening of the UN rights body’s 26th session.

International rights groups claim nearly 40,000 civilians were killed by Lankan troops in the final stages of the civil war that ended in May 2009 with the killing of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Sri Lanka denies that its military killed any civilians, but instead says the defeated LTTE rebels. The UN panel is said to be willing to visit Lanka between July and November. Rajapaksa has two thirds majority in the 225-member parliament.

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