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Home News Latest Govt. reverses policy on war crimes probe in secret, says UNP

Govt. reverses policy on war crimes probe in secret, says UNP

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  • UNP says if Govt. took this position earlier, ‘colossal damage’ to the country could have been averted
  • People have a right to know why, says main Opposition
  • Govt. consistently maintained no war crime probes necessary since Lankan troops did not commit them

The main opposition United National Party has accused the Government of a stealthy reversal of its policy on probing alleged war crimes by surreptitiously taking steps to launch a domestic investigation using foreign expert advisors in the face of mounting international pressure.
Issuing a statement yesterday, the UNP, which previously offered the Government support to launch a domestic inquiry to ward off international action, said the Government was now concurring with the views of the international community that a war crimes investigation was necessary.
“If such a position which the UNP repeatedly requested was taken years earlier, there is no gainsaying that colossal damage to the country would have been averted. It could have also brought to question the validity of the current international investigation,” the main Opposition charged in its statement released to the media yesterday.
The UNP has faulted President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his UPFA Government for changing its policy on the issue in secret, without letting the people know the reasons for the reversal.
“The UNP notes with serious concern that this course of action has been without any recourse to the Cabinet of Ministers. If indeed they were briefed, this has not been made public. Nor has the UPFA Government informed Parliament,” the UNP statement asserted.
The statement noted that since the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), over five years ago, the UPFA Government has consistently maintained that no war crime probes were necessary since Sri Lankan troops have not committed any of them.
“Addressing the nation on Victory Day, President Rajapaksa has repeatedly reiterated that the troops fought with the UN Human Rights Charter in one hand and a gun in the other. At last year’s elections to Southern and Western Provincial Councils, he exhorted from public platforms that he would rather face the ‘electric chair’ than betray the troops of Sri Lanka,” the statement continued.
The UNP said that it was ironic that the ruling Government sought to obtain the support of Opposition political parties in Parliament last month, against the UN probe into the last seven years of the war.
“Having sought unsuccessfully to obtain the support of the Opposition to stall an OHCHR investigation saying it was detrimental to peace and reconciliation, the UPFA Government has surreptitiously taken measures to conduct a domestic investigation. In doing so, it has chosen to ignore the Cabinet of Ministers, the Parliament and the people of Sri Lanka. Why are they hiding the truth from the public?” the statement charged.
“Worse enough, the MPs who voted in favour of the resolution now stand exposed,” the statement said.
The UNP said it strongly believes the public should also know whether the actions are in the best interests of Sri Lanka or “are the outcome of ignorant, shady but powerful brokers who are on an adventure wrapping up secret diplomatic deals behind the backs of the people”.


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