The main opposition United National Party (UNP) today accused the Government of making a U-turn on investigations over the war by expanding the mandate of the missing persons commission and also appointing three foreign experts to oversee the investigation. The UNP noted that a proclamation issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gazetted on July 15, among other matters, calls for an investigation into alleged war crimes.
For this purpose, the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry probing disappearances has been expanded. Three international advisors, who have prosecuted at UN war crimes tribunals, have been appointed. More are to be added.
“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. This position has been enunciated at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and locally at different occasions. Addressing the nation on Victory Day, President Rajapaksa has repeatedly re-iterated that the troops fought with the UN Human Rights Charter on one hand and a gun on 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 UNP said.
The UNP says now the UPFA Government seems to be concurring with the views of the international community that alleged war crimes should be investigated.
The United National Party strongly believes that both President Rajapaksa and his UPFA Government should reveal to the public why a major policy change on such an important matter was made secretly. The UNP notes with serious concern that this course of action has been without any recourse to the Cabinet of Ministers.
The UNP also 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