Home » News

S. Lankan envoy queries agenda of war crimes brief

[AFP, Wednesday, 19 October 2011 07:39 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s envoy to Australia Wednesday said a dossier alleging war crimes during the dying days of his country’s civil war only served to fuel the agenda of "vested interests".

Thisara Samarasinghe, who was a commander in the Sri Lankan navy during the conflict which ended in 2009, said the report now in the hands of the Australian Federal Police would not harm relations between the countries.

But quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, the high commissioner (ambassador) asked: "For whose purpose are they doing this? Are the poor Tamil people in the north (of Sri Lanka) getting any benefit from this?

"I don’t know what the agenda of these people is. These types of things give oxygen to people who have a vested interest."

The dossier, prepared by the International Commission of Jurists’ Australian chapter, contains testimony from Sri Lankans now living in Australia that they were attacked by government forces during the war.

ICJ Australia has said it contains eyewitness evidence of the bombing and shelling of civilians which fly in the face of the Sri Lankan government’s stance that civilians were not targeted.

The body said the evidence was initially collected for an independent war crimes tribunal but it was passed onto the Australian Federal Police because one had not been established.

Australia can prosecute serious war crimes offences, where Australia has custody of a person and where immunity does not apply, according to the ICJ.

The dossier comes as Australia prepares to host a Commonwealth leaders’ summit later this month which Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is expected to attend.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.