The United States on Monday called again for a “transparent accounting of Sri Lanka’s actions” during the final months of the island’s war. Addressing reporters State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the UN panel of experts is a mechanism “that should be taken advantage of” and that “an international mechanism to look at these is in everyone’s interest.”
Mr. Toner made his comments in response to a question by Tejinder Singh, the Washington correspondent of Headlines Today television, part of the India Today group, which is to air on Tuesday a new documentary on Sri Lanka’s war crimes.
The following are extracts from the press briefing:
Tejinder: The defense secretary of Sri Lanka, Rajapakse, in an interview with headlines today, has rejected calls by the UN, U.S., and other international communities calling for war crimes investigation. He said actually, how can an international mechanism kick in? He says we have done nothing wrong. So what is the reaction of the U.S. and the ongoing UN efforts on this?
Toner: Well, we continue to call on a transparent accounting of Sri Lanka’s actions, and we believe the UN panel of experts is a mechanism that should be taken advantage of in order to carry out that kind of examination and accounting. I’m aware that Sri Lanka has also conducted some reporting on human rights abuses, alleged human rights abuses, but we still believe that an international mechanism to look at these is in everyone’s interest.
Tejinder: He – however, but he redefined the international community. He says these are not the international community; Russia, China, Africa, Middle East, and Southeast Asia is the international community, and they are supporting us. So –
Toner: Again, I’ll have to look at his remarks in greater detail, but broadly put, that’s our position.