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US urged to press for international probe of Sri Lanka war

[AFP, Wednesday, 11 August 2010 10:12 No Comment]

5jlg5puA A group of US lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to push for an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes that occurred during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the members of Congress called for such a probe saying panels set up by the Sri Lankan government to probe the allegations "lacked the needed credibility."

These panels have "also delayed criminal investigations and in several instances members of these commissions have resigned in protest at the government’s interference," the letter said, citing Amnesty International.

The letter dated August 9 and obtained Tuesday was signed by some 57 members of the US House of Representatives.

"There is mounting evidence that suggests both parties in the conflict committed severe human rights violations during the conflict," it said.

In May last year, capping a four-decade civil war, Sri Lankan government troops finally defeated the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam.

"We urge you to call for a robust and independent international investigation that would finally clarify the events that occurred during the conflict and provide the foundation for a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka," the letter said.

Sri Lanka has rejected a United Nations probe into alleged rights abuses during the final stages of the war.

The UN has previously reported that at least 7,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed in the last four months of fighting before government troops finally defeated the Tigers in May.

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