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Lanka: UNP deputy leader for war crimes probe

[Express Buzz, Tuesday, 7 December 2010 08:27 No Comment]

The Sri Lankan government has said that it will bring a no-confidence motion against Karu Jayasuriya, deputy leader of the opposition United National Party (UNP), for supporting the Western countries’ demand for a probe into the war crimes allegedly committed by the Lankan security forces in the final phase of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)in 2009.

Two cabinet ministers, Susil Premajayantha and Wimal Weerawansa, told the media here on Monday that the government would move a no trust motion in parliament against Jayasuriya for telling ‘Sunday Island’ newspaper that the Rajapaksa government was needlessly hiding behind denials of war crimes, refusing to conduct even domestic inquiries against serious crimes, and describing and dismissing demands for an investigation as a conspiracy against Sri Lanka.

Jayasuriya demanded a Lankan governmental inquiry into the alleged crimes so that bridges could be built between Lanka and the West, and between Lanka and the Tamil Diaspora. He said the government’s “Look East” policy was mainly meant to get the support of regimes which did not care for human rights.

Jayasuriya was commenting on the cancellation of President Mahinda

Rajapaksa’s talk at the Oxford Union Society last week. It was cancelled at the last minute by union officials who felt that security could not be guaranteed to the speaker, the organisers, and the audience, because of widespread protests against the Lankan government on the war crimes issue.

Following the cancellation, Minister Wimal Weerawansa led a demonstration in front of the British High Commission here saying that the British government was behind the cancellation. The High Commission, however, maintained that the meeting in Oxford was a private affair and that the government had nothing to do with it.

UNP blamed for demos

The Lankan government and ruling party MPs are blaming UNP member Dr Jayalath Jayawardene for the  demonstrations which were held by Tamils and their supporters in London at the time of the visit of the Lankan President. They want a parliamentary committee to go into Jayawardene’s conduct.

But the UNP MP, who is a rights activist, denied that he had anything to do with the demonstrations. Tissa Attanayake, the UNP’s spokesman, said that government was on a “witch hunt” against opposition leaders.

UNP divided

The UNP, however, is divided on the issue of war crimes. Sajith Premadasa, a front runner in the campaign to replace existing leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, said on Monday that the Lankan army never committed war crimes. All the war crimes were committed only by the LTTE, he maintained.

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